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Newtown Group Fights Relocation Of Route 32

NEWTOWN, Ohio (WKRC-TV)    A group of people in the Village of Newtown are banding together to fight the possible relocation of State Route 32 as part of the Eastern Corridor project.     

The $1 billion road construction proposal seeks to improve access to U.S. 50, Red Bank Road and I-71 from the east side of Cincinnati and the west side of Clermont County.

The project has four parts including the possible relocation of State Route 32 so it connects with U.S. 50 in Fairfax. People who live and work in newtown love their little village.

They say businesses are thriving and there's a lot for people to do but some fear relocating route 32, would destroy that.

"A four-lane divided highway with light rail in the middle is going to take away from that historic charm and ambiance of the village. It would devastate the village," said council member Mark Kobasuk, who opposes the project. Kobasuk and others who are part of the Newtown Community Partnership Committee are passing out a pamphlet entitled "the End of Newtown", which argues against the project.   

The Ohio Department of Transportation is studying an area between Fairfax and western Clermont County for the possible relocation of state route 32. Newtown is in the middle of the section.

There are four potential corridors in that area where a new road could be built. Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan says the new road would wipe out businesses and homes.   "We don't want anything to do with it. We don't want it coming through, over, under, around us nothing," Synan said. He believes the project would increase traffic and air pollution in the village.  

Hamilton County commissioner Todd Portune supports the Eastern Corridor project.      He said it would ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and provide better access to downtown from the east side. Portune also said the project would give a boost to the economy, a claim Chief Synan disputes.    

While Portune encourages people to voice their opinions, he says it's too early to pan the project since there isn't a set route.      "Even when we get done neighborhoods are not going to be destroyed and artifacts are not going to be obliterated. That is not what this process is all about or what the eastern corridor program is all about," Portune said.                       

 But for some in Newtown, the eastern corridor is a non-starter.    "I don't care how pretty they make it with trees and people riding bicycles and trains. It's a four lane road with a speed limit of 50 to 55 miles per hour," Chief Synan said.  

We contacted officials with the DOT for an interview and they declined our request.      

They could ultimately decide on a "No Build" option.      

But, we've learned they're meeting with officials in Newtown next Monday to hear their concerns.   Commissioner Portune says $9 million has been spent on studying the relocation of State Route 32.




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