Whitehall adds more federal funding to fix Broad-Hamilton intersection

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
Ryan Andrews (left), Whitehall's consulting city engineer with EMH&T, and Zach Woodruff, Whitehall's director of development and public service, are shown Jan. 19 at the intersection of Hamilton Road and East Broad Street in Whitehall. The Ohio Public Works Commission recently approved the city's grant-funding request for improvements at the intersection.

A major reconstruction project at East Broad Street and Hamilton Road is expected to improve traffic flow and reduce the number of accidents – but though motorists will have to wait a bit longer for the improvements, the plan is one step closer to completion.

Whitehall officials said the city received a grant of $1.2 million from the Ohio Public Works Commission to modify the intersection. That grant will be added to the roughly $9 million in state and federal funds the city already has received for the project.

The nine-month fix, which will start no sooner than the end of 2022, is expected to reduce traffic accidents by 32% and reduce wait times by 1 minute, said Zach Woodruff, director of development and public service for Whitehall.

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, which is allocating U.S. Department of Transportation funds to the project, considers the intersection among the top 10 worst in terms of accidents, and it is on the state’s top 100 for the same reason, Woodruff said.

The project’s improvements will include adding directional turning lanes on the curb side, widening both roads in each direction and installing concrete medians to prevent motorists from making left turns across three lanes of traffic, Woodruff said.

“That’s a major cause of accidents right there," he said.

A few curb cuts will be eliminated, Woodruff said. Some, especially those closest to the intersection, are a source for rear-end accidents because of the sudden stopping and turning in fast-moving traffic, he said.

But a lot is going on behind the scenes right now, and it will will take considerable time to launch the effort, Woodruff said.

After obtaining all of the necessary rights of way, the project will be bid and awarded to a contractor, and then construction will begin, he said.

The project is a collaboration between Whitehall, MORPC and the Ohio Department of Transportation; the latter two have contributed money. Whitehall, which is providing no money for the construction, is helping coordinate the project, Woodruff said.

“We have to follow a very stringent process because of the funding sources,” said Ryan Andrews of EMH&T, the consulting engineer on the project.

In other development news near the intersection, the city expects to solicit bids by the end of the year to realign Woodcliff Drive, a thoroughfare through the former Woodcliff Condominiums at the northeast corner of East Broad Street and North Hamilton Road.

The alignment will be between Poth Road and East Broad Street.

NR Investments, a Miami-based company, plans to develop the former Woodcliff Condominiums for $50 million.

For the Woodcliff project, Whitehall received another $3.2 million from the Ohio Public Works Commission toward reconstruction and a $1 million contribution from the developer.

The first paof the multiphase project will include $18 million in infrastructure improvements funded by several public and private entities, Woodruff said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary