"Building Towards Butler County's Future"

South Hamilton Crossing

Construction Weekly Reports

Installation of 900' 10'x12' box culvert in October 2016

In April 2012, the City of Hamilton and TID modified the intergovernment agreement for the TID to enter into a contract with Burgess and Niple to continue the engineering steps 4-9 on the South Hamilton Crossing Project. For information you can review the City of Hamilton website .

The TID has acquired the necessary right of way acquistion for the project and recently construction has started on the project.

For a history of the project and the pitfalls getting to construction, read our Board Chairman's letter published in the Lane Library publication.

8/17/16 Journal news article
Hamilton project to improve safety, reduce traffic, open development
HAMILTON — Heavy rains would not stop a ground breaking for a project some joke has been 100 years in the making.

A symbolic groundbreaking was held Wednesday for the South Hamilton Crossing project, a $32 million overpass project expected to improve public safety, reduce traffic congestion on High Street and increase future economic development in a key area of the city that includes Miami University Hamilton and Vora Technology Park.

More than 100 people gathered indoors at Miami Hamilton’s Parrish Auditorium due to inclement weather to see officials turn a shovel full of dirt gathered on the stage in the symbolic gesture. Work on the project began a few months months ago with relocating utility lines and construction preparation.

Jim Blount, chairman of the Butler County Transportation Improvement District and local historian, said there have been 10 previous attempts since the 1890s to address and resolve this key infrastructure issue that has previously stalled due to economic depressions, recessions, the 1913 flood, World Wars and missed opportunities for federal funds among others.

Blount, who has long championed the need for an overpass over the four sets of railroad tracks, said construction is underway because of cooperative effort among local, regional and state partners.

“I never thought I would see it happen,” he said. “I’m certainly glad to see it happen. It’s taken a lot of people and it’s taken a lot of effort.”

Fifty-six trains come through the railroad tracks that bisect the city, with the crossing blocked more than 15 percent of the time, according to the city.

Vice Mayor Carla Fiehrer said the project will change the landscape and possibilities for the city’s 63,000 residents.

“The benefit for the city of Hamilton is immeasurable,” she said. “The possibilities are endless of what we can do out here. This is huge.”

Once completed in 2018, a new road extension and overpass will create a direct east/west route from Ohio 4 to University Boulevard.

It will provide a direct route to Miami University Hamilton and the Vora Technology Park, where 1,500 new jobs at the new BarclayCard processing facility will be located, and also open up between 50 to 60 acres of greenfield at the city-owned University Commerce Park for future development.

Officials also hope the new overpass eliminates safety issues such as car/train accidents where two lanes of Central Avenue cross four rail tracks owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern, as well as delaying first responders in emergencies due to traffic back-ups when trains are crossing.

5/9/16 Journal news article
South Hamilton Crossing project reaches key milestone
HAMILTON — After more than a century of talking about the need for an overpass over South Hamilton Crossing, the long­awaited project could begin sometime next month. The Butler County Transportation Improvement District voted Monday to award the construction contract with the John R. Jurgensen Co.

David Spinney, executive director of the Butler County Transportation Improvement District, said the bids were opened on April 28 and that the apparent low bidder was the John R. Jurgensen Co. of Sharonville. Spinney said the TID and city officials met with company officials to reviewing the bid before it goes before it went to the board for final approval.

“The low (base) bid was just under $17 million and there are a couple of alternate bids,” he said. Spinney said he will be recommending an overall bid of more than $17.9 million with two alternatives that include some piping made with reinforced concrete lining for drainage and the other alternative will be for fencing and lighting on the overpass.

He expects construction on the long­awaited project to begin sometime in June pending completion of final reviews and paperwork. In addition, the BCTID also approved a $1.7 million contract with Omnipro of Gahanna, Ohio, for construction management and inspection services. “I never thought this would ever happen,” said Jim Blount, BCTID chairman, former Journal­News editor, and local historian. “I wrote columns and stories about this for decades.” Blount said until 1960, the South Hamilton Crossing project was a top priority for the city. However, it was later decided that it made more sense to complete High Street first to the connector (eventually to Interstate 75), he said.

The nearly $29 million railroad overpass project, which has been more than 100 years in the making, has been making progress in getting started. Since March, preparation work has been underway as the city of Hamilton closed the Central Avenue crossing just north of Grand Boulevard and Pleasant Avenue and Cincinnati Bell crews have been relocating major telecommunication lines.

Hamilton City Council recently approved an amendment to the agreement between the city and BCTID for the project, which is expected to be completed sometime in 2018. The planned project includes various improvements on Grand Boulevard starting just west of Twelfth Street. The project includes various street and intersection improvements, an overpass over the CSX railroad tracks, a relocated intersection of Grand Boulevard and Pleasant Avenue/U.S. 127, and continuing with the extension of Grand Boulevard with other future intersection improvements before connecting with University Boulevard.

The new road extension and overpass will create a new direct east/west route from Ohio 4 to University Boulevard for residents and businesses. In addition, it will provide a direct route to Miami University Hamilton and the Vora Technology Park, where 1,500 new jobs at the new BarclayCard processing facility will be located, and also open up between 50 to 60 acres of greenfield at the city­owned University Commerce Park for future development. Once the project is completed sometime in late 2018, it will eliminate several safety issues that has concerned city officials since 1910 that include numerous car/train accidents where two lanes of Central Avenue cross four rail tracks owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern, as well as delaying first responders in emergencies due to train traffic, according to Blount.

City officials have also said when the rail crossing is blocked due to passing trains, it could mean a detour of about three miles and adding close to 10 minutes for police, fire and emergency medical services responding to residents and businesses on a busy day. The rail tracks bisect Hamilton north and south and are mainlines for both railroads. About 60 trains a day come through Hamilton daily and traffic is blocked at that crossing and nine others some 15 percent during the day, officials said.

In addition to eliminating the current unsafe rail crossing that is used by thousands of vehicles a day, the new overpass will reduce congestion on High Street. Rich Engle, city engineer and public works director, said the current average daily traffic is 16,700 vehicles, excluding trucks which are prohibited from using it. “Future Average Daily Traffic is predicted to be the same,” he said in an email. “However, be aware this prediction was made prior to Barclaycard moving into Vora. So there will be more traffic including trucks.” Engle said, “I expect traffic on High Street using the underpass will diminish somewhat because motorists will find the connection between South Erie Highway and Pleasant Avenue to be more convenient to use.”

9/14/15 Journal news article
Received a fiscal shot in the arm, with $3.75 million from the Federal Surface Transportation Program. The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) — a group of local governments, business organizations and community groups — committed $2.4 million for land acquisition for the project in 2012, which at the time, was recognized as one of nine critically needed infrastructure improvements in Butler and Warren counties.

The SHX project will improve transportation in the city by replacing an existing railroad crossing with a railroad overpass “created by extending Grand Boulevard to the west,” said City Manager Joshua Smith. The completed SHX should help solve some pressing transportation issues and will allow better access to Vora Technology Park, University Commerce Park and Miami University Hamilton according to Brandon Saurber, chief of staff for the city of Hamilton. “It’s difficult to overstate the importance of the South Hamilton Crossing project. East/west mobility through the city is a challenge given the amount of rail traffic that runs north/south through the city,” he said. “This project will offer dramatically improved access on the southeast side of Hamilton for the further development around Vora Technology Park, Miami University Hamilton, and the largely undeveloped University Commerce Park. Safety is also a huge factor in this. Aside from the elimination of the existing railroad crossing and its complicated geometry, this will also allow for more efficient responses from our police and fire divisions,” Saurber said.

Dave Spinney, of the Butler County Transportation Improvement District (TID), said his agency joined Hamilton in applying for the recently awarded funding this year. Besides the money received from OKI, the state of Ohio has kicked in $10 million and the Butler County Engineer’s Office has contributed $100,000 to the project. The Butler County TID added a significant amount as well — chipping in $500,000.

Smith said Hamilton plans to contribute roughly half of the project’s total cost which is in the range of $29 million. He said the partnerships involved with SHX have been a win-win for everybody. “OKI’s support of the South Hamilton Crossing project is crucial to its success and illustrates how important the overpass is to our regional transit network,” Smith said in a statement. “SHX is very important for both safety and economic reasons. With the recent announcement that Barclaycard is opening a 1,500 person facility at Vora Technology Park, the need for better access to the area is more important now than ever.” Saurber said the project is expected to start construction in 2016 and continue through 2018



Last Updated: November 17, 2016