Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Streetsblog USA

Ohio DOT Cedes Ground in Its Sneaky Highway Expansion Campaign

The relocation of State Route 32 would have set the stage for an interstate to the sea. Image: ##http://www.urbancincy.com/2011/01/809m-identified-for-long-planned-i-74-extension-through-hamilton-county/##Urban Cincy##
The relocation of State Route 32 would have set the stage for sprawling development in Cincinnati's eastern suburbs. Image: Urban Cincy
false

Opponents of a $1.4 billion highway expansion project outside Cincinnati have won some important concessions from Ohio DOT, but the agency's stealth campaign to build an "interstate to the sea" isn't over yet.

Last week, ODOT announced that it will no longer pursue the relocation of State Route 32 through communities on the eastern edge of Cincinnati. "We’re not going to spend any more time or money on that current aspect of the project," ODOT spokesman Brian Cunningham said at a meeting last Thursday.

But ODOT is still looking to widen parts of SR 32, add turn lanes, and install new ramps -- meaning it hasn't abandoned the decades-old plan to create a highway from Cincinnati all the way to the South Carolina coast.

"What they did is that they broke down the upgrading of SR 32 to interstate specs into several small projects that seem innocuous on their own," said Jake Mecklenborg of UrbanCincy. "While cancellation of the highway inside the I-275 loop might prevent 1990s-type suburban development of rural Clermont County, the decades-old effort to connect I-74 in Cincinnati with I-74 in North Carolina is still very much alive."

Mecklenborg noted that ODOT is currently spending more than $400 million to build an "interstate-spec" bypass around the tiny town of Portsmouth, Ohio, about 100 miles east of Cincinnati. And construction of the King Coal Highway (a future segment of I-74) continues in the mountains of West Virginia. Even without routing I-74 directly through Cincinnati, parts of the I-275 loop could be co-signed as I-74 should SR 32 eventually be fully grade-separated, Mecklenborg said.

Still, the agency's decision not to relocate SR 32 is a win for the Ohioans who fought to prevent sprawl, preserve small towns, and avert the destruction of a Native American archeological site.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Metro and Caltrans Expect to Complete Torrance 405 Freeway Widening Project Next Month

Metro and Caltrans are adding nearly two miles of new auxiliary freeway lanes, a new on-ramp, and widening adjacent streets including Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street

July 19, 2024

Strategizing About Reduced Funding in the Active Transportation Program

Funding for Cycle 7 of the Active Transportation Program is less than $200 million, and already there have been requests for fifteen times the amount of available funding

July 18, 2024

Eyes on the Street: Hollywood Boulevard Bike Lanes are Open

The Hollywood bike lanes project, already very much in use, is also already being criticized by commenters at Nextdoor and other social media

July 17, 2024
See all posts