The Ohio Department of Transportation has reportedly dropped plans to reroute a highway in eastern Hamilton County.
Under one possible aspect of the Eastern Corridor plan, State Route 32 would have been rebuilt and shifted to run through Mariemont. But following a closed-door meeting today, commissioner Todd Portune says ODOT is backing away from that.
“From a public perspective and a taxpayer perspective, today’s discussion is in my opinion, very good news because it means that we’re not going to waste any more time or any more money working on roadway proposals that will never get done, and that virtually everybody opposes,” Portune says.
Portune says today's decision should move Eastern Corridor projects along because ODOT can now focus on improving transit options that are more feasible.
Commissioner Chris Monzel also hailed the decision.
"I think ODOT’s decision to refocus its consideration of State Rt. 32 is the right one,” Monzel says. “Throughout the discussions of the Eastern Corridor various parties, community groups and local governments, including both Newtown and Mariemont, have expressed their firm opposition to relocating Rt. 32.”
Portune says opposition to those options was slowing down the entire Eastern Corridor project.
“The new transit on the Oasis Line, the bikeway improvements, all those things can also move forward and get done, in a way where they’re not sidetracked because of this controversy over State Route 32,” Portune says.
Monzel says he supports funding for the Red Bank Connector, but opposes the plans to start commuter rail service along the Oasis Line. He says it would be very costly and there are too many questions about ownership and operations.
“It would be a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Monzel says.
With the rerouting of SR 32 apparently off the table, Portune says ODOT will review options for improving the existing highways, including SR 32, US 50, and the Beechmont Levy.