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Published: Thursday, 8/14/2003

ODOT seeks time to mull McCord Road woes

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

On any given day, between 80 and 100 trains travel those same tracks, as cars line up and wait for them to pass.

People inside those stopped vehicles are eager for construction to begin on a long-discussed overpass or underpass at the tracks.

An improved McCord Road was the No. 1 priority for residents who responded to a recent questionnaire from the Springfield Township administration about transportation issues facing the township.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is evaluating a number of options for the project. It canceled a public meeting planned for tonight so that it has more time to judge the feasibility of its various options.

The task of building a bridge over the tracks or an underpass brings about a number of problems that need to be solved, said Mike Ligibel, planning administrator of ODOT's Bowling Green office.

“There are specific engineering problems, public opinion, environmental concerns,'' and the dicey problem of what to do with roadways, the rail line, and nearby homes and businesses while construction is ongoing, Mr. Ligibel said.

For instance, Mr. Ligibel said, if an underpass is chosen, the project will include construction of one mile of railroad tracks in both directions for use while work is being done.

It also will have to be constructed either north or south of the permanent line, which may force relocation of homes or businesses along the route.

The track, he said, will have to be sufficient to handle trains traveling at up to 60 mph and will probably be in use for most of the year to 18 months it will likely take to finish the grade separation.

In either case, a temporary road will have to be built to handle vehicular traffic.

Mr. Ligibel said ODOT officials also have to consider the long-term effects the project will have on McCord Road homes and businesses near the site of the bridge or underpass.

Buildings at street level may one day suddenly not be if the grade begins to rise as it approaches a bridge over the tracks.

He noted that Hall Street, an access road to three Springfield Local school buildings and the school district's administration building, might not connect with McCord because of possible design approaches to an overpass or an underpass.

Until the department has had a chance to review possible solutions to the problems, Mr. Ligibel said he is hesitant to hold a public meeting.

“We don't want people to get too excited or too upset when they see a design which we won't use. We want to be sure the designs we present are feasible before we ask for public comment,'' he said.

A presentation probably will be made to the public in late September; then ODOT will put the public's comments together with environmental, engineering and other concerns to determine the preferred design.

He said work is to begin on the $12 million project in 2007.



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