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The City of Loveland is exploring a regional traffic study to relieve congestion at the West Loveland Avenue Bridge and through its Historic Downtown.
Based on data received in June 2022 from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) StreetLight Insight® program, approximately 10,000 vehicles travel West Loveland Avenue daily through the center of Downtown Loveland. Currently, there is only one access point in the city allowing motorists to pass over the Little Miami River from Clermont County into Hamilton County: the West Loveland Avenue Bridge. The nearest bridge crossings from Loveland are approximately three miles south at Miamiville or four miles north at Foster.
“We can all agree there is a traffic problem, and the city wants to lead a regional study to find a solution that benefits residents and our neighbors. We are taking the first steps to explore the possibilities,” explained Cory Wright, the city’s Assistant City Manager.
To start this endeavor, city staff and Mayor Kathy Bailey met with ODOT District 8 staff, as well as representatives from Congressman Steve Chabot’s and Congressman Brad Wenstrup’s offices in April 2022. Discussion topics included addressing the need for additional cross-river connectivity and potential regional network improvements to reduce downtown congestion attributed in theory to commuters from Clermont and Warren Counties. ODOT staff provided background information about the planning and engineering studies that would be required to determine what solutions are feasible.
Wright emphasizes this will not be an overnight solution — “The goal at this time is to have a planning study done to understand the true traffic patterns of our region. The study will help determine where people are coming from and where they are traveling. When the study is completed, we would know what is feasible for our region based on the data and public input.”
For instance, is a bridge feasible to offer another cross-river access point near to the city, and where would it be located? Or would it be feasible to pursue other network enhancements, such as upgrading surrounding county roads to improve travel time to the interstate?
Wright stresses there are many unknowns at this very early stage of the exploratory process and likened Loveland’s potential corridor project to ODOT’s Eastern Corridor Program or the Brent Spence Bridge — infrastructure years in the making. In fact, planning for the Eastern Corridor first began in the 1990s and the program still is not nearing its final phase, per ODOT.
Furthermore, the city occupies three counties and neighbors multiple townships.
“For a traffic study of this magnitude, we will need cooperation from our neighboring communities. We want to find a regional solution that benefits everyone, so we would like all our neighbors to be supportive of the study,” Wright stated.
To form partnerships that may help advance such a regional initiative, city staff has completed the following since April: