"Building Towards Butler County's Future"

Liberty Interchange Project History
 

History
The Liberty Interchange, its formally adopted name, is the extension of the Michael A. Fox Highway (SR129) from its terminus at Interstate 75 eastward. The project also involves extending Cox Road from Hamilton Mason Road northward.

We have been getting questions about where the "new" road is going to be located. We are in the initial study phase for the project as it relates the North-South Initiative Study being completed through the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI). This OKI report on the Interstate 75 corridor will be released next spring and the Liberty Interchange should be one of the recommendations.

We have received clearance from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to proceed with environmental work relating to the Liberty Interchange. ODOT is once again helping the TID move a project along faster since the environmental studies typically begin at the conclusion of the preliminary study. This step can save up to eight months in the planning stages for the Interchange. The Board of Trustees approved a contract for Resource International to start the aerial mapping and environmental (categorical exclusion) work on the interchange project at the October 14 meeting.

We have developed a work group for the project. Similar to our efforts with Union Centre Interchange and the original Michael A. Fox Highway project, the workgroup is a collaboration of affected entities with participants from Liberty Township, Butler County and ODOT being vital parts of this group.

In August 2002, the University of Cincinnati completed an economic impact study for the interchange area. The study shows the potential jobs to be created, the immediate financial impact and additional financial impact the interchange project will generate. The report can be viewed here. I apologize for the first page being a partial the adobe process won't recognize it.

The Liberty Interchange was approved by OKI to be included in the long range plan and also the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The project is still in the initial development phases. Recently, the Board authorized our consultant to proceed with the environmental work and aerial surveying work. There are still no alternative layouts for the full interchange at this point.

As the TID develops a more detailed idea of where the alignment for the project will lie, we will continue to update the information. The effect on the current transportation grid will also be addressed.

News from 11/17/03
The TID and Liberty Township met with the stakeholders on October 16 for selection of the preferred alternative. The stakeholders were presented with the alternatives and their ability to meet the problem statement goals. The Township Administrator made the presentation with what was determined to be the preferred alternative. After some discussion, the group unanimously decided that a Collector/Distributor to Hamilton-Mason Road with a Cox Road Extension was their best option.

The preferred alternative was presented at the Public Information Meeting on October 23, 2003. Comments have been reviewed and addressed that were generated at the Public Information Meeting. The final report has been sent to the State for review and once their approval is received the report will be forwarded to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). FHA must approve the plan to allow the modification.

Next Steps
The TID continues work on the Interchange Modification Study and various environmental studies that are part of an interchange on the federal highway system. This process can take up to twenty-four months to complete depending on different environmental impacts encountered during the process.

News from February 20, 2004
The TID approved several resolutions related to the Liberty Interchange on Monday February 9. Those resolutions were approved pending approval from the Liberty Township trustees, which occurred the following Thursday.

The two keys resolutions were the Board approving the engineering contracts with Resource International for the 3 phases of the interchange project. The Board decided to pursue the project in 3 phases:

Phase A: Cox Road Extension
Phase B: Improvements to Hamilton-Mason Road
Phase C: New Interchange.

With the engineering contracts being approved, the contractor has started work on the design of Phase A. With no utility issues on Phase A, we are hopeful to start construction on that section sometime in 2005. Phase B will be next but, with utility relocation and additional right of way purchases, looks to be a 2006 construction project.

News from June 23, 2004
The TID has submitted staged design (through the new step 6) for the project to the District for review. The stage 1 design of the Cox Road Extension is also under review through the Butler County Engineer's Office.

News from September 13, 2004
Plans for the Cox Road Extension and Hamilton-Mason Road are progressing in anticipation of construction beginning in Spring 2005. The TID, Liberty Township and BCEO have met with several land owners and developers regarding access and other right of way issues.

News from October 11, 2004
Comments have been received from the Butler County Engineer's Office for the Cox Road Extension and revisions are being made by the consultant. The plans for the Hamilton-Mason Road design were submitted on October 8. The TID anticipates starting the right of way acquisition process by year end. Currently, the TID is having a review completed for the project expense estimates. There has been concerned expressed about both the TID's projected revenues and expenses for the interchange related projects.

News from February 22, 2005
The TID has submitted the design plans for Hamilton-Mason Road improvements to the utility companies for initial review and coordination work. The project has been split into four phases. (1)Hamilton-Mason Road East - From I-75 to Butler-Warren Road and (2) Cox Road plans should be completed by the third quarter of 2005. (3) Hamilton-Mason Road West - I-75 to Cincinnati-Dayton Road - plans are anticipated for first quarter 2006.

News from July 13, 2005
The TID continues to work on the engineering design for the Hamilton-Mason Road improvements with some title and right-of-way work being completed. The environmental document for the interchange continues to move along in the process. The TID will provide more detailed information as it becomes available. The TID has linked three design sheets related to the proposed Liberty Interchange configuration alternative with Hamilton-Mason Road overpass. There is also a property map of the intersection with Cox Road. Click this link design files to access the appropriate page.

News from December 16, 2005
The TID is now the owner of just over 21 acres on the eastern section of the project. The TID is currently evaluating options on whether to bid out the sale of the property on the northern side of Hamilton-Mason Road or keep it until the specific right of way necessary is determined for the project. The engineering and title work on the Hamilton-Mason Road sections of the project is moving along as scheduled. At the November 2005 Board of Trustees meeting, a motion was passed to suspend the remaining engineering on the Cox Road extension until the financing of that aspect is completed. The actual engineering and environmental work on the interchange proper is moving forward and on schedule.

The County has seen additional development in the area with the acquisition by Cincinnati Children's Hospital to the northwestern part of the project along with the new Kroger store under construction.

Liberty Township will be holding three public meetings on the Joint Economic Development District that will help finance the project. For details on those meeting please to Liberty Township's website contained in the links section of our site.

News from July 2, 2006
The TID continues to work with the local officials and staff on project funding. The TID has decided to complete the Cox Road Extension as an assessment project. The TID is seeking job-sites ready grant money for the area. The TID is continuing with engineering the entire project and working on obtaining right-of-way for the interchange proper by the end of 2006.

News from January 7, 2007
The TID is working on financing the construction of the interchange and the related improvements to Hamilton-Mason Road. The TID is expecting the financing to close at the end of February. The bonds will be secured through intergovernmental agreements with the Butler County Commission and Liberty Township. The TID is still working on right-of-way acquisition. The previous deadline by ODOT has been cancelled as the interchange project will be bid as a separate project to the widening of Interstate 75. The TID is awaiting on final approval of the related environmental documents expected in the first quarter of 2007.

News from May 31, 2007
The TID has completed the financing of the Liberty Interchange with the closing on the highway improvement bonds in February. Special thanks needs acknowledged to our local government partners: Liberty Township Trustees, Butler County Commission and West Chester Township Trustees. Without the support and pledging of revenue from their various sources, the financing and rating on the bonds would not be possible. The TID says THANK YOU to them.

Now with the financing completed, the TID has turned the focus to acquiring right of way. The TID has secured one parcel within the interchange area on March 16 and recently another on May 30. The TID continues negotiating with all property owners in the area. Our enginnering firm is wrapping up the construction drawings for the project. The Hamilton Mason Road plans are final from Cox Road to Butler-Warren Road and the TID is in the process of preparing for bidding the project.

News from April 10, 2008
On April 2, 2008 the Liberty Interchange proper (overpass,ramps and limited access on Hamilton-Mason Road) was bid at a price of $14.3M to John R. Jurgensen Company. The TID is very happy with the bid price as it works well with our budget. To date the TID has had successful bids on the Cox Road Extension, Hamilton Mason Road East and the Interchange Proper. The TID will be bidding the Hamilton Mason Road West project later this year. The beginning of April also marked Federal Highway's approval of the environmental document. This was critical to bidding the interchange project. The whole project (all phases) is expected to be completed by the fall of 2009.

On December 15, 2008, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution to accept the bid from John R. Jurgenson for construction on the Hamilton Mason West project. The total bid was just under $5.8 million with construction expected to start on or about January 5, 2009. The project's completion date is targeted for October 1, 2009. Traffic will be maintained throughout the construction. This timeline fits in nicely with ODOT's timeline for completion of the interchange project. The TID needs to have all local roads improved before ODOT will allow the new interchange to open to motorists. Over the weekend, ODOT switched the movement of traffic on south bound Interstate 75 to the new ramps to and from State Route 129. This allows for the contractor to start construction on the ramp bridge from Interstate 75 to Hamilton Mason Road.

July 27, 2009
Both remaining phases of the Liberty Interchange project continue to move on schedule. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) continues to work on the new interchange from Interstate 75 to Liberty Way (formerly Hamilton Mason Road.) The picture below depicts driving from SR129 to southbound 75 under the new bridge ramp that will allow access to Liberty Way when completed. ODOT has the ramps on the northern side of the project partially under pavement. The ramps on the southern side are laid out and will be completed soon. The project is scheduled to open in the fall.

The TID continues to work on the fourth and final phase of the project, widening the portion of Liberty Way from Interstate 75 to Cincinnati Dayton Road. The picture below shows the utility work and road widening but is not the most recent picture for progress as the contractor has made significant improvements since this picture. This phase will be open at the same time as the Interchange phase to allow movement throughout the entire project.

 


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Last Updated: April 9, 2010