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Massive Storm Water and Sewage Project Underway

SOUTH FAIRMOUNT, Ohio (WKRC) -- One of the gateways to and from Cincinnati's west side is in the midst of a massive change.

The target zone is the one mile area between Queen City outbound and Westwood Avenue inbound.  It stretches all the way from the Mill Creek to White Street and it's in the process of demolition to make way for water.  Local 12's Rich Jaffe has a look at the biggest public works project in Cincinnati history.

Thousands of people go through this area every day.  There's a Rally's just down the street, a Mcdonalds and a lot of dilapidated buildings.  Over the next few years that's all going to give way to an ambitious and beautiful waste water green space project that will really change the face of this area completely.

Joe Kattus has been fixing cars at his West Fork Service Center for 35 years.  Over the next few years, the view out his front door is going to change dramatically.

Kattus says, "I'm all for it.  I mean especially re-doing the neighborhood.  The neighborhood needs to be re-done. I think when it all materializes it will be beautiful it will be good for the community."

Everything between White Street and the Mill Creek is either coming down or moving so that construction crews can get to a massive pipe underneath all this that right now carries both storm water and sewage downstream.

Up to 76 buildings will fall.

This 194 million dollar project is part of an effort to satisfy a federal consent decree to reduce combined sewer flows.

Michelle Ralston from the Metropolitan Sewer District says, "This is a massive undertaking for us.  What we're looking to do is take out that storm water from that pipe, the pipe will remain but we're gonna take the area back to its natural environment kind of return it to a natural waterway through here."

The project, called Lick Run, is designed to restore the path of a stream that was redirected a century ago.  The actual construction part of the project will begin in 2016.

This recently revamped park (located in the de-construction zone) will stay but in a slightly different form.  Area residents will also reap some other benefits.

Ralston tells us, "We need to build pathways to get in for maintenance and those pathways can also be used for walkways and biking trails."  

Lick Run is just one of the projects changing the face of this neighborhood.

Joe Kattus says, "We don't know exactly what the finished product is gonna be.They're talking about a new road, a new viaduct and we've heard that's all five years away so we're just playing it by ear."

There's a lot of additional benefit coming from this project.

A job training program is connected to the demolition and construction and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful will help with the landscaping.

MSD officials tell us that by using the existing pipe and redirecting the storm water to the surface, they're actually saving 200 million dollars, over the cost of putting in an even bigger pipe that could handle both.

Watch video here



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