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Keowee Street detours delayed, but bridge will close for almost 2 years

Published: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 3:48 PM

The Keowee Street Bridge over the Great Miami River will close in December, as soon as the new Helena Street Bridge is opened, says Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner. A construction bid of $8.8 million has been awarded to Eagle Construction for a new bridge and demolition of the existing bridge will take place first. The Keowee St. Bridge is the last of the filled arch bridges in Montgomery County and carries about 20,000 cars daily between Harrison Township and the City of Dayton. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Ty Greenlees
The Keowee Street Bridge over the Great Miami River will close in December, as soon as the new Helena Street Bridge is opened, says Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner. A construction bid of $8.8 million has been awarded to Eagle Construction for a new bridge and demolition of the existing bridge will take place first. The Keowee St. Bridge is the last of the filled arch bridges in Montgomery County and carries about 20,000 cars daily between Harrison Township and the City of Dayton. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

Replacement of the Keowee Street bridge over the Great Miami River will stymie traffic between Dayton and Harrison Twp. and impact some area businesses for almost two years beginning within weeks. 

“It’s never a good situation, but it’s one where the bridge needs to be redone,” said Jeff Davis, general manager of J&T Dayton Sandblasting Services that sits in Harrison Twp. on a block of North Dixie Drive that will be closed for months.

“It’s a necessary evil,” he said.

Detours will be in place until at least September 2019 for replacement of the deteriorating, 86-year-old bridge — the final one of its kind found locally, said Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner.

“It’s the last of the filled-arch bridges in the city of Dayton,” Gruner said. “They were very labor intensive. You really can’t afford to rebuild them like this in the present time.”

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In addition to the 20,000 vehicle drivers who cross the bridge daily between Dayton and Harrison Twp., users of the Great Miami River Recreational Trail and paddlers on the river will also be confronted with detours and portages.

The date the Keowee Street bridge will close has been revised to Dec. 18 at the earliest, or until the new Helena Street bridge nearby reopens, according to the county. Detours from the Helena Street bridge — set to open soon — have routed traffic over the Keowee Street bridge during that year-long construction project.

RELATED: Dayton bridge project part of $175M investment

Patrons of Ben’s Batteries in Harrison Twp. will still be able to reach the business, but owner Robert Kucharski said he’s not entirely sure how.

“North Dixie will be closed to through traffic, but you should still be able to get here. That’s what I’m hoping,” he said. “If they can’t get here at all, I might as well shut the doors. That’s not going to be good.”

When traffic starts flowing again in late 2019, it will cross a new 550-foot long, pre-stressed concrete I-girder structure, Gruner said.

“It’s not a real fancy bridge, but it will be a nice looking bridge when it’s finished,” he said.

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Sidewalks, now six-and-a-half-feet wide, will be widened to 10 feet on the new five-lane bridge. The center pier will feature overlooks on each side of the bridge with girders painted medium blue.

Along with neighboring residents and businesses, Gruner said the department also worked on the design with the region’s rowing community, leading to wider spans that will allow two side-by-side sculls to pass underneath.

The contractor, Eagle Bridge Company in Sidney, is already prepping for demolition and working on the bikeway and river portages, Gruner said.

MORE: Major Kettering road to close in both directions for months

Total construction engineering and construction costs on the project total about $9.3 million, more than 70 percent coming from federal bridge and surface transportation funding. About $1 million was additionally spent on design engineering and right-of-way acquisition, according to the engineer’s office.

In September, the county opened a new $7.3 million bridge on Harshman Road over the Mad River near the entrance to Eastwood MetroPark. After the Keowee Street bridge, the next big Montgomery County bridge project will the the Third Street bridge in Dayton that will span about 700 feet over the Great Miami River with a projected cost of $20 million, Gruner said.

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Hamilton extended its contract for speed cameras. Why it’s continuing while others face issues.

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 5:00 AM


            Hamilton police department traffic officer Michael Coleman demonstrates one of their new Laser Technologies LTI20/20 Trucam hand held laser speed measuring devices, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. The new devices can record video and still photographs. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
Hamilton police department traffic officer Michael Coleman demonstrates one of their new Laser Technologies LTI20/20 Trucam hand held laser speed measuring devices, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. The new devices can record video and still photographs. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Hamilton has approved a one-year extension with a company that provides an automated photo program to monitor vehicles’ speed in the city. The city created the program in 2009.

Before the 7-0 vote last week to continue the program with Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., council members were told the program is different than many that have found themselves in legal trouble.

RELATED: New Miami $3 million speed cam program mired in appeals

Unlike other programs, Hamilton’s uses either a manned vehicle that is clearly marked or hand-held devices operated by officers, which avoid issues of drivers not being able to face their accusers. In fact, when Ohio lawmakers in 2015 approved legislation for procedures to be used under such programs, several aspects were modeled after the city’s program, council was told.

Before the decision, Vice Mayor Michael Ryan asked how much the program would cost city government. He was told the program has no cost to the city. Rather, of the money generated by the program, 65 percent goes to the city, while 35 percent goes to Redflex.

RELATED: New Miami loses decision on speed cameras, closer to paying out $3M

The city can cancel the contract at any time with 10 days notice without financial penalties. The program generates about $100,000 per year, which goes into Hamilton’s general fund.

Hand-held devices also can be used in marked cruisers.

Mayor Pat Moeller said it’s especially important to use the program in school zones and other sensitive areas for speeding to get people to slow down there. He said he is confident the program has helped reduce fatalities on Ohio 129, where the program has slowed vehicles.

Public Safety Director Scott Scrimizzi said the thresholds used in the program are high: “It’s 10 miles an hour over (the speed limit) in a school zone. If you’re going 10 miles over (in a school zone), you deserve a ticket. It’s 14 miles an hour over in a 35-mph zone.”

He added: “We do not have enough officers right now. Speeding is our No. 1 complaint, I would think, without question, that we get from our citizens.”

It’s hard to refute the citation when you can go onto your computer and see it is your car, and you’re driving it, officials said.

MORE: 3 focuses in Hamilton for 2018: Neighborhoods, High/Main corridor, riverfront

Scrimizzi added that former Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen, who is critical of such programs and spoke against them on WLW radio, accepted an invitation from the city to review Hamilton’s speed program and, “He said, ‘If everybody operated the program the way that you guys do, I would have no problem with it.’” Allen later went on WLW and expressed that view.

Resident Alfred Barron during a public hearing on the matter told council he thinks the program is good. In fact, he said he would like the program used in the areas of Knightsbridge Drive and Pershing Avenue, which he said sometimes can resemble “speedways” and where there have been several crashes in recent years.

When the under-construction South Hamilton Crossing is finished later this year, linking Ohio 4 with the area of Miami University Hamilton’s campus and the Vora technology park, that would be a good area for such enforcement, Barron added.

Police Chief Craig Bucheit agreed that speeding is probably the biggest complaint people express during neighborhood meetings and said, “This is just one of many tools we use to keep our streets safe.”

“It’s not a money-grab,” said Council Member Carla Fiehrer. “We care more about safety than the money it brings.”

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Warren County teen admits to vehicular assault in hill-hopping crash

Published: Monday, February 12, 2018 @ 4:57 PM


            A South Lebanon teen admitted to vehicular assault in a crash in January that sent four passengers to hospital and closed the Shawhan Road bridge.
A South Lebanon teen admitted to vehicular assault in a crash in January that sent four passengers to hospital and closed the Shawhan Road bridge.

A 17-year-old South Lebanon boy today admitted to two counts of vehicular assault in connection with the crash that sent four of his passengers to the hospital and triggered the extended closure of a road and bridge.

The Shawhan Road bridge was closed after the crash involving five teens on Jan. 5. It isn’t expected to reopen until warmer temperatures allow crews to complete the job, expected to take about a week, according to the Warren County Engineer’s Office.

MORE: Cuyahoga County looks to Dayton for help with juvenile crime

The crash occurred when the 2012 Mazda M6 driven by the teen “went airborne, drove off the right side of the road, over corrected, drove off the left side of the road, drove through a guard rail, rolled and landed in a frozen creek bed,” according to the crash report.

RELATED: Bridge closed after another hill-hopping crash

It was the second time in recent years the bridge was closed due to a crash involving young drivers accused of hill-hopping.

On Monday, Judge Joe Kirby ordered the boy to return for sentencing on March 21 in Warren county Juvenile Court , according to court records.

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ROAD CONDITIONS: Slick roads reported as snow falls

Published: Sunday, February 04, 2018 @ 6:16 AM

Slick travel conditions and little bit of snow are expected this evening in the Dayton area.

Light snow has been falling across the Miami Valley this morning and roads could be impacted throughout the day as one to two inches of fresh snow is forecast by the Storm Center 7 team of meteorologists.

Area law enforcement have reported slick road conditions in the area.

>> RELATED: WHIO App-Winter

Traffic conditions are updated every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM.

Major Highway Incidents

  • On Ohio 72 south of Clifton, a crash involving a vehicle reportedly into a pole and tree near River Road was reported shortly before 9 a.m.

>> RELATED: Check for delays or cancellations before heading to the airport

Surface Street Incidents

  • AT 8:14 a.m.: A rollover crash without injuries was reported on Lower Bellbrook and Schnebly roads in Greene County.  A truck was reported on its top.

JEFF BROWN / STAFF

>> RELATED: Track the latest conditions in your neighborhood on our live WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic .

Ongoing Construction & Other Closures

Latest traffic conditions are also available on our traffic map. 

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

  • Keowee Street north of Stanley Avenue, bridge closed until 2019. The official detour is: Keowee Street to Stanley Avenue to I-75 to Wagner Ford Road and back to Dixie. More information is available here.
  • Stewart Street Ramp to US 35 East, RAMP CLOSURE March 28 - Sept 30, 2018. The official detour is: Stewart Street to Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to I-75 north to US 35 west to James H. McGee Blvd. to US 35 east.
  • I-75 north Ramp to US 35 west and east, Lane width restriction until Apr. 1, 2018. One lane will remain open on the ramp with a width of 11 feet.
SHELBY COUNTY
  • SR 47 between Fifth Avenue and Wilkinson Avenue, Lane closures Jan. 21 - Nov. 27. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times. 

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South Lebanon man killed in morning crash

Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 9:54 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 12:05 PM


            The Ohio Highway Patrol investigated a fatal accident in Warren County today. STAFF
The Ohio Highway Patrol investigated a fatal accident in Warren County today. STAFF

A man driving a truck, reportedly without the owner’s permission, was killed early Thursday in a single-vehicle crash on Ohio 132 in Harlan Twp., Warren County, according to investigators.

The crash occurred around 5:20 a.m. when a maroon 2000 Dodge Dakota pickup truck, operated by Abijah Nelson Chasteen Jr., 52, of Warren County, drove off the right side of the road and crashed into two large trees in the 6000 block of Ohi0 132, according to reports from the Warren County Coroner’s Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol.

RELATED: Initial story on this crash

Chasteen reportedly had been followed earlier by a friend of the vehicle’s owner and was not wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred, according to investigators.

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Chasteen lived near the crash site on Ohio 132 in Morrow, but he was carrying a license indicating he lived in South Lebanon, according to Doyle Burke, chief investigator for the coroner’s office.

Chasteen was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:02 a.m., according to the coroner.

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The truck was reportedly taken from Clinton County on Wednesday, Lt. Chuck O’Bryon of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. The owner reported Chasteen was driving it without permission, O’Bryon added.

Troopers believe Chasteen knew the owner of the vehicle and are investigating the case as an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, O’Bryon said.

MORE: Central State mourns student killed in crash

Burke said he was told a friend of the vehicle’s owner spotted Chasteen driving the truck and followed him. The friend said he had been separated from Chasteen when he came upon the crash, Burke added.

Chasteen’s body was taken to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office for a full autopsy. The autopsy showed he died of multiple blunt force trauma, according to Burke.

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The crash remains under investigation by the Lebanon Post of the highway patrol.

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call 513-932-4444.

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