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Rebuild of Mt. Zion, Richwood interchanges among $200 million road projects coming to Boone County

By Kevin Eilgelbach
NKyTribune reporter

Look out, Boone County. More than $200 million in transportation projects is coming your way over the next few years.

With any luck, at least one of them will help fix a congested intersection near you.

Artist’s conception of a view of the reconfigured Mount Zion Road interchange with Interstate 75 (Click to enlarge).

It’s the most major highway projects set to begin in Boone County than at any time since the creation of the interstate highway system, County Judge-Executive Gary Moore said.

The biggest project is to rebuild the Interstate 75 interchanges at Richwood and Mount Zion roads, as well as add a northbound and southbound lane to the highway from Richwood to the US 42 interchange in Florence.

The new interchanges will have a “double-diverting diamond” design that looks a bit like two cloverleaf interchanges put next to each other. There’s only one other in Kentucky, on New Circle Road in Lexington.

Included in the project will be a rebuild of the Richwood Road railroad crossing and the intersection with US 25. The new Richwood Road will go under U.S. 25 and also the railroad line, much the same way that KY 18 now goes under North Bend Road in Burlington.

Judge Moore

The total project cost is $150 million, with an Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant from the Federal Highway Administration supplying $67 million. Boone County Fiscal Court plans to contribute $2.5 million and the state about $80 million.

Businesses around the interchanges who have lobbied for interchange improvements are expected to pony up about $500,000, Moore said.

As they now exist, both interchanges are poorly rated by the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) because, at times, traffic backs up there onto the highway, Moore said. It’s especially bad before the holidays when trucks bearing gifts from local warehouses are trying to head north.

The Kentucky Department of Highways, which will oversee the project, plans to award a construction contract sometime next year, Moore said, which would normally mean completion at the end of 2020 or 2021.

The second-biggest project, a new Interstate 275 interchange at Graves Road in Hebron, is expected to cost $38 million. In the two-year road budget it approved earlier this year, the General Assembly allocated $15 million for design, rights-of-way acquisition and utility relocation, Moore said.

Artist’s conception of an alternate view of the reconfigured Mount Zion Road interchange with Interstate 75 (click to enlarge).

That project is designed to ease congestion at the existing Hebron exit at North Bend Road, Moore said. The idea was to create a second path to the interstate for the communities along Graves Road and the businesses on Worldwide Boulevard, Moore said.

It’s the same concept that prompted him to advocate the creation of Aero Parkway rather than add another lane to KY 18 from Florence to Oakbrook, he said.

Construction should begin any day on rebuilding the intersection of Weaver Road, Hopeful Church Road and US 42 in Union, Moore said. That $2.5 million reconfiguration will eliminate left turns off US 42 and thus improve traffic flow, he said.

In July, the Kentucky Department of Transportation will call for bids to make five lanes of Camp Ernst Road from Rogers Lane to the intersection with Pleasant Valley Road, and then south on Pleasant Valley to U.S. 42. The $22 million project also calls for the dangerous Camp Ernst/Pleasant Valley intersection to be moved north and made into a large, two-lane roundabout, Moore said.

The project will also include an 8-foot wide, multi-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians like the one on the new section of Camp Ernst, from Rogers Lane north to KY 18.


Connecting neighborhoods with multiple modes of transportation like this helps build community, Moore said.

Design has begun of a similar path on North Bend Road in Burlington from KY 18 to Hebron, with construction of the $2.5 million project set for 2019, County Administrator Jeff Earlywine said. Construction should begin in 2020 for another path along KY 18 from North Bend to Aero Parkway, he said.

Eventually, the county hopes to build a circle of such paths around the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. “It would be like Lunken Airport on steroids,” Earlywine said, referring to the trail that encircles the airport in Cincinnati.

Other transportation projects in the concept or design phase include:

– A connector road from Pleasant Valley to Hopeful Church Road to provide motorists with an alternate path to the interstate other than via US 42;

– Making Donaldson Road a five-lane highway from Erlanger to Mineola Pike;

– Improving the intersection of Interstates 75 and 275 to eliminate backups during rush hour;

– Improvements around the airport to accommodate Amazon’s Prime Air project off Aero Parkway.

Most of the above projects are ones that county officials lobbied for and have helped plan for, Moore said.

“These are much-needed projects to accommodate existing traffic and provide capacity for what’s coming,” he said.

Contact the NKyTribune at news@nkytrib.com

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One Comment

  1. Eddie Welch says:

    Would it be possible to see the lay out on us42/hopeful/weaver design for viewing

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