Union Centre Boulevard Diverging Diamond Interchange

Improvements position the Township as a premier location for investment

Overnight Lane Closures - March 30-31, 2020

The Butler County Engineer's Office reports overnight southbound lane closures on I-75 near the Union Centre Boulevard Interchange on Monday, March 30, 2020, from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Crews will be removing the existing Dynamic Message Sign (DMS) truss as part of the Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) project, scheduled to be completed this summer.

Southbound I-75 lane closures will begin at 8:00 p.m. and intermittent full 15-minute closures of all southbound lanes will begin at midnight. Motorists are encouraged to use caution and expect delays.

Please check the BCEO website, as well as Facebook and Twitter @bceonewsfor possible date and status changes concerning this closure –www.bceo.org/roadclosings.

Since the 1997 construction of the Union Centre Boulevard 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.

With opportunities still available for discerning investors in the Union Centre corridor, West Chester takes the next step to ensure the safety, capacity and efficiency of the UCB interchange for the traveling public by developing a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI).

Investment in quality infrastructure is a core competency and a key factor in defining West Chester as a premier community for economic development which has allowed the Township to grow responsibly and become one of "America's Best Places to Live" (CNN/Money Magazine).

The Butler County Engineer's Office (BCEO) serves as the Township's engineer and has managed the Township's largest and most successful road projects. The BCEO has been an incredible partner in the economic development success of West Chester and in the annual Infrastructure Improvement Program.

Currently more than 50,000 cars per day travel the Union Centre interchange. The BCEO recommended the DDI design as a way to increase capacity at the interchange, reduce collision points and more safely and functionally integrate a practical and usable pedestrian crossing.

The West Chester Township Board of Trustees accepted a nearly $20 million bid from John R. Jurgensen for the transformation of the Union Centre Boulevard interchange to a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI).

The transformation of the interchange will take place on the existing bridge deck and will include the extension of existing highway ramps. Nearly all of the work - over the next two construction seasons - will take place while maintaining traffic. At some point during the construction, a five- to seven-day closure of the bridge will be necessary.

The Township is working with the BCEO and contractor on the project. As more information becomes available, it will be updated here.

Project Funding

West Chester Township issued $14 million in bonds for the project and will pay the rest with cash from Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

West Chester doesn't collect income tax and property tax revenues are shared with the county and other important agencies. Townships are permitted to establish special districts which serve as important economic development tools to attract new corporate investors and help shift the burden of funding improvements and services away from the individual taxpayer.

TIF funds may only be used for qualified improvements within the defined districts or directly providing service to the district. Infrastructure improvements like the UCB DDI are consistent with the mission of the TIF and will provide a means for continued investment by developers in commercial property keeping West Chester at the epicenter of economic vitality in the region.

Through 2018, the Union Centre Boulevard TIF has generated nearly $122 million in PILOT (payments in lieu of taxes) from corporate investments. This revenue comes directly from payments made by property owners in the district on the increased value of the property after improvements are made.

The UCB TIF generates approximately $10 million each year.

France began using DDIs in the 1970s and in the 2000's, Gilbert Chlewicki, a graduate student at the University of Maryland, "reinvented" the DDI concept. The first DDI in the United States opened to traffic in June 2009 in Springfield, Missouri. Currently, there are over 100 DDIs in the United States. Below are some expected benefits of UCB DDI interchange:

Safety Benefits

  • Fewer collisions than traditional interchanges
  • Reduced collision severity versus traditional interchanges
  • Fewer conflict points, especially crossing conflicts
  • Medians and geometry provide traffic calming
  • Opportunity to safely accommodate pedestrians through interchange
  • May reduce wrong way movement potential for highway ramps

Traffic Operation Benefits

  • Signal operation reduces lost time at interchange and increases capacity
  • Signal operation increases turn movement capacity; left turns onto interstate may be free flowing

Bike and Pedestrian Benefits

  • Relatively simple pedestrian crossing in the middle
  • Eliminates crossing of unprotected free flow ramp

Cost and Impact Benefits

  • Retrofit interchange generally fits within existing interchange right of way and bridge structure
  • Use of existing structure reduces delays and costs related to delays