Two-year project will add extra lane on U.S. 35 to relieve congestion

U.S. 35 will expand to three lanes each direction in eastern Montgomery County. This is the view from the Woodman Drive bridge looking east. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

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U.S. 35 will expand to three lanes each direction in eastern Montgomery County. This is the view from the Woodman Drive bridge looking east. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

U.S. 35 will be expanded to three lanes in each direction between Smithville Road and I-675 over the next two years, to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety, Ohio Department of Transportation officials said this week.

Construction on the $13.2 million project, which covers just over 2 miles of highway, will be led by Barrett Paving Materials. It is scheduled to begin this July, with a tentative completion date of August 2022.

EARLIER: Smithville interchange project will cause ramp closures

U.S. 35 is three lanes (and briefly four) in each direction from downtown east to Smithville. Then it narrows to two lanes as it heads toward Greene County. Traffic backups are not uncommon on the eastbound side during afternoon rush hour.

ODOT officials said tentative plans are to start in July with resurfacing of the outside shoulder plus drainage work. In 2021, traffic will shift to those outside shoulders while the median wall, inside shoulder, and additional lanes are constructed.

Then in 2022, traffic on eastbound U.S. 35 will shift to the inside lanes so crews can remove and lower the pavement under the Woodman Drive overpass to increase the bridge clearance.

ODOT officials said throughout the project, drivers should expect some ramp and lane closures. Construction updates will be available to the public in a weekly advisory posted on the ODOT website, as well as ODOT District 7’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

RELATED: State says bridge is safe despite missing chunk

During both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 winter seasons, two lanes of U.S. 35 traffic will remain open in each direction.

The project is Phase 2 of upgrading this piece of U.S. 35. The first phase widened the bridges over Spinning Road and the Iron Horse Trail. The third phase, which is scheduled for construction in 2023, will modify the Woodman Drive interchange.

“As the project manager since 2006, I am excited this critical phase of U.S. 35 will be constructed,” said ODOT Contract Manager Amy Schmidt.

A separate $4 million construction project at the U.S. 35 and Smithville interchange has been under way for months, with two exit ramps currently closed.

Tiffany Oliphant, public information officer for ODOT District 7, said that interchange project is about 50 percent complete. Work on the new northbound Smithville to westbound 35 left-turn access is scheduled to start June 25 and be completed in August.

RELATED: U.S. 35 “superstreet” project in works in Greene County

Once that is completed, the damaged “flyover” ramp that loops from Smithville to westbound U.S. 35 will be demolished.

ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said Ohio’s 2019 gas tax increase makes a difference in getting projects like these done.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly, we were able to grow the revenue stream which, in turn, allowed us to invest the dollars needed to make this project happen,” he said.

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