Decade-long I-75 modernization ends early, nearly $1M under budget

Published: Thursday, September 22, 2016 @ 5:09 AM
Updated: Thursday, September 22, 2016 @ 9:04 PM

“Malfunction junction” was declared dead Thursday at a celebratory completion of the I-75 Modernization Project, which state transportation officials say ended one year early and nearly $1 million under budget.

Officials hope the completion of the $306 million, four-and-a-half mile road project will improve safety and ease decades of frustration with the heavily-traveled downtown stretch that an estimated 128,000 cars and trucks travel each day.

Rob Griffith, Federal Highway Administration assistant division administrator, said the four-mile stretch of highway replaced in the modernization project formerly saw an average of 325 accidents per year.

“Right now, we’ve just finished this project and we’re seeing roughly 225 crashes per year, so we’ve seen a decrease already of 100 crashes per year,” Griffith said.

The project relied on the use of monetary incentives to encourage the contractors to complete the work ahead of schedule. An ODOT spokeswoman could not immediately confirm whether Kokosing Construction received a $3 million bonus for the completion, but officials indicated the incentives were a major part of getting the construction work done ahead of schedule.

“Waving extra dollars at contractors, I think they sharpen their pencils, they get their A-team on board and they march ahead and get it done,” said Randy Chevalley, ODOT District 7 deputy director. “They’ve got that next project they want to do. They’re in business to make money.”

Leaders from the Ohio Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and other local agencies and governments were on hand for the ceremony Thursday morning, which included a ribbon cutting.

The project was built in three segments:

  • Phase 1A began in October 2007 and saw the reconstruction of the I-75 and state Route 4 interchange, including the elimination of a sharp curve and left lane ramps. The Main Street exit was upgraded and three continuous lanes were built from Main Street to Stanley Avenue. Kokosing Construction completed the project in fall 2011 at a cost of $122 million.
  • Phase 1B broke ground in March 2010 and built a three-lane stretch from Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to Fifth Street and rebuilt portions of the existing U.S. Route 35 interchange ramps. The Ruhlin Company completed the project in fall 2013 at a cost of $58 million.
  • Phase 2, the final segment of the project, kicked off in spring 2013 to connect Phases 1A and 1B by constructing three continuous lanes between the complete phases. The project included the reconstruction of 12 bridges and eliminated left lane entrances and exits. The project was completed by Kokosing Construction at a cost of $126 million.

Chevalley noted construction will continue in the area around the completed I-75 stretch. That work includes the continuation of construction on the U.S. 35 portions of the interchange with I-75, technically a separate project, and the eventual replacement of the I-75 bridges near Edwin C. Moses Boulevard and Wagoner Ford Road.

But for the project at hand, ODOT officials focused on celebrating the accomplishment alongside several dozen construction workers. Randy Winals, a labor foreman with Kokosing Construction, said he was proud to know his work is “going to be here for a long time.”

“All of us guys working together, we talk about that kind of thing — ‘What’s this going to look like for everyone?’” said Winals, dressed in a hard hat and reflective gear. “I’m very proud of it and everyone who works on it should be proud of it.”

News Center 7’s Mike Campbell contributed reporting.

FIRST REPORT

The decade-long modernization project of Interstate 75 through downtown Dayton will officially come to an end Thursday.

ODOT said the project was an investment of over $300 million, and was constructed an entire year ahead of schedule and below budget.

“The newly constructed interstate creates a smoother, less congested commute for motorists, as well as new ramps in and out of the Dayton area,” ODOT District 7 Public Information Officer Mandi Dillon said in a release issued earlier this week.

ODOT will hold a project completion ceremony Thursday at 10:30 a.m. on Second Street in downtown Dayton.

EARLIER: I-75 construction project in Dayton to be finished this year

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U.S. 35 at I-75 reopened following closure due to high water

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 2:15 AM

UPDATE @ 2:57 a.m.

Both directions of U.S. 35 have reopened after briefly closing due to high waters Saturday, according to dispatchers.

Waters have receded in the areas of James H. McGee and I-75, however, water is still high in some portions of U.S. 35.

EARLIER REPORT

East and westbound U.S. 35 at I-75 is blocked while crews address heavy flooding in the area. 

Crews were dispatched to the highway around 2 a.m. on reports of impassible roads and heavy flooding. 

Initial reports indicate traffic is being diverted from U.S. 35 to I-75 north, according to initial reports. 

Callers into this newsroom have also reported high waters on eastbound U.S. 35. at James H. McGee.

We will continue to monitor highway conditions and post updates here.

Dayton fire crews encounter heavy flames at reported house fire

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 2:43 AM

Dayton fire crews are responding to a house fire on Adelite Avenue Saturday morning. Jordyn Huffman/Staff

Dayton fire crews are responding to a reported house fire Saturday morning.

Firefighters were dispatched to a home at the intersection of McCall Street and Adelite Avenue, according to dispatchers. 

Our crew reports heavy flames are coming from the structure as crews attempt to enter the house. 

Dispatchers said it is unknown if anyone was home at the time the fire was reported. 

We are working to learn what caused the fire and if anyone was injured as a result.

More than 50K may be without full coverage at Miami Valley Hospital

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 10:49 PM

As of midnight Sunday, more than 50,000 people in the Dayton area may not have in-network insurance coverage at Miami Valley Hospital.

UnitedHealthcare and Premier Health Network have not reached a new agreement for employer-sponsored and individual plans. The current contract expires April 30 for premier hospitals and facilities.

Premier and UnitedHealthcare extended its contract through Dec. 31 for those with Medicare Advantage plans. This includes about 7,000 members in the Dayton area, said Tony Marusic, communications director for UnitedHealthcare.

If an agreement for employer-sponsored plans is not reached in the coming weeks, Premier physicians also will be out of network beginning May 14. Also on May 14, both Premier hospitals and physicians would be out of network for UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid plans.

Some members may be able to receive in-network coverage for a period of time if the contract expires, such as members who are pregnant or undergoing active treatment for a serious medical condition, such as cancer. 

In the event of an emergency, UnitedHealthcare said its members should go to the nearest hospital because emergency services are covered as an in-network benefit.

For more information about employer-sponsored and individual health plans, visit www.myuhc.com. For Medicaid health plans, visit www.myuhc.com/communityplan

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Springfield police investigating body found in duplex as suspicious

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 10:47 PM
Updated: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 11:12 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- (UPDATE @ 11:05 p.m.) Police are trying to determine whether the woman lives in the duplex where she was found dead. They are also trying to determine her age. 

The Clark County coroner's investigator has arrived.

INITIAL REPORT

Springfield police have opened a death investigation after a woman’s body was found in one side of a duplex in the 200 block of North Race Street.

The discovery was called in about 7:52 p.m. and police at this point are treating the death as suspicious.

We have a crew on the way. We will update this developing report as we get information.