Public sounds off on I-75 project

By Dan Wells - bio | email

(ST. BERNARD, OH) - A major overhaul of Interstate 75 is in the works, and tonight, dozens of people who live along the interstate weighed in on the plans.

The project is set to begin next year, and re-vamps the Mill Creek Expressway from the Western Hills Viaduct to the Paddock Road exit.

With improvements to Interchanges at Hopple Street, Interstate 74, Mitchell Avenue, and the Norwood Lateral.

ODOT says the reconstruction will get rid of the left hand exits along I-75 to bring the highway up to standard.

The St. Bernard Municipal Building was full of maps, drawings and information about future plans to overhaul Interstate 75.

"I'm looking forward to it. We need to create jobs," said Cincinnati resident Ben Brown.

"If there is an accident, the freeway backs up for miles for hours," added another resident, Kloster Kemper, who says she's definitely in favor of the project.

"The project is needed," said Stefan Spinosa with ODOT. "There are quite a few accidents and congestion in the corridor and its just getting worse and this project should elevate those."

The $450 million freeway facelift brought out dozens of people: some who live in the area, others who just wanted to ask questions, and Ed Beckman, who says it's a project he will have to deal with first hand.

"I'm going to lose some of my property," Beckman said. "Overall though I'd prefer that they didn't widen 75, but what they've done here, what they've presented looks like a very good presentation."

That's because ODOT has been working on these plans for years.

"We're at the point now where we're showing our final impacts and our recommended alternative for the corridor," said Spinosa.

The impacts include relocating 22 buildings, 67 households and 15 commercial businesses.

"The impacts to historic properties that are in the right of way or nearby will be very minimal, and it looks like the planners tried to avoid impacts to important cultural resources," said Margo Wiminski with the Cincinnati Preservation Society.

But Beckman isn't so sure.

"In the long term, I'd rather see the money spent on public transportation and an overall development plan for the entire area as opposed to building more highways," he said.