Lytle Tunnel Project Begins This Week

May 25, 2015

Credit Mark Heyne / WVXU News

Construction work begins Tuesday on a $30 million project to improve the Lytle Tunnel in downtown Cincinnati.  It will mean lane restrictions and periodic weekend shutdowns of the interstate for the next two years.

An Ohio Department of Transportation release said the project is designed to “bring the tunnel and its mechanical systems into compliance with current fire codes and design standards.”

The tunnel construction work will also close Lytle Park and portions of Lytle Street in Downtown.

The entire project will be completed in late 2017 and includes the following:

  • additional ITS cameras and a fire detection system will be installed allowing for more efficient and safer response to incidents within the tunnel,
  • upgrades to the tunnel lighting,
  • repairs to the tunnel concrete and tiling,
  • extensive upgrades to the tunnel mechanical systems and ventilation,
  • installation of a new power supply, thus replacing the existing underground vaults in the Fourth Street sidewalk,
  • moving the ventilation grating to a location conducive to future park plans,
  • installation of new access hatches at several locations within the park limits that will not impact future park plans

ODOT said road closures for construction will be scheduled to avoid major Downtown events including the Major League Baseball All Star Game, Riverfest and Oktoberfest.

The state is still working on a more detailed road closure schedule and it is expected to be available in mid-June.  It will include the following:

  • southbound Interstate 71—for one weekend (Friday night to Monday morning);
  • southbound I-71 ramp to Third Street—for one weekend (Friday night to Monday morning) and a second time for 20 consecutive calendar days;
  • Second Street ramp to northbound I-71—for 60 consecutive calendar days.

The Lytle Tunnel carries 71 under Lytle Park and Fourth and Fifth streets on the eastern edge of the city.  It carries three lanes of northbound 71 traffic, two lanes of southbound traffic and a single lane, southbound exit ramp to Third Street.  The tunnel first opened to traffic in 1970.