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Transformation of Union Centre interchange on tap for summer 2019
The West Chester Board of Trustees accepted a nearly $20 million bid from John R. Jurgensen for transformation of the Union Centre Boulevard interchange to a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI).
West Chester Township will work with the Butler County Engineer’s Office and the contractor to finalize details of the project in the coming weeks.
The transformation of the interchange will take place on the existing bridge deck and will include extension of the highway ramps. Nearly all of the work – over the next two construction seasons – will take place without complete closure of the bridge or road. A four-day closure of the bridge will be necessary at some point and will be planned for a weekend.
“We are committed to working with our partners and communicating with our residents, businesses and travelling public throughout the project to limit inconvenience, but patience is always required when construction is involved,” said Township Administrator Larry D. Burks.
Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens recommended the DDI design to West Chester in 2015 as a way to increase capacity at the interchange, reduce collision points and more safely and functionally integrate a practical and usable pedestrian crossing.
Since 1997 (construction of UCB interchange) there has been more than $2.4 billion in real and personal property investments; more than 22 million square feet of retail, corporate office, entertainment and industrial development, generating more than 25,000 jobs in the Union Centre area.
More than 50,000 cars per day travel the Union Centre change currently. Investment in the DDI supports opportunities to achieve the highest and best use of remaining developable properties in the area, efficiently and safely move vehicles and even allow for some pedestrian use.
Investment in quality infrastructure is a key factor in defining West Chester as a premier community for economic development which has allowed West Chester to responsibly grow and become one of America’s Best Places to Live.
“If we stop the momentum of development at Union Centre Boulevard, we may never get that momentum back,” said West Chester Board of Trustees Chairperson Mark Welch.
The DDI project will be funded with Tax Increment Financing (TIF) dollars. West Chester issued $14 million in bonds for the project and will pay the rest with cash from the TIF.
TIF can only be used for qualified improvements within the defined districts or directly providing service to the district. West Chester has used these resources to make infrastructure improvements, build a library for the community, purchase fire apparatus, develop The Square at Union Centre, and much more.