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Project History

medians-BarbaraLokar_Fall-ingForMason_cdWestern Row Road and
I-71 Interchange Improvements 

The current improvements underway at the Western Row Road and I-71 interchange stem from a Major Investment Study (MIS) – the Southwest Warren County Transportation Study (SWWCTS) conducted in 2005 for the southern half of Warren County. The project sponsors were the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), Warren County, the City of Mason and other municipalities and townships within the 100 square miles that make up the study area.

As part of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Project Development Process (PDP), an existing and future conditions report was developed to document the historical population growth and estimate the impact of future growth within the study area. Vehicle hours of delay (VHD) were projected to increase by 635 percent within the study area by the design year 2030 as compared to 323 percent for the remainder of the OKI region.

The Western Row Road interchange was originally designed as a partial interchange with no movements to or from the north with a two-lane southbound on-ramp and a two-lane northbound off-ramp to deliver traffic to and from the Kings Island amusement park’s parking lots. Tourism brings 7.8 million visitors annually to Warren County with Kings Island being a primary destination. Motorists that want to exit or enter I-71 southbound at Western Row Road must do so at the State Route 741 interchange or the Fields-Ertel Road interchange. Intersections at both interchanges are predicted to experience Levels of Service (LOS) of “F” in the design year 2030, indicating that the roadways are over capacity and will experience significant congestion and delay. The current configuration was designed in 1970 with plans to add southbound on and off ramps when the proposed State Route 129 (Hamilton Connector) was built. However, the Hamilton Connector Project did not occur due to funding shortages and development along the corridor, and project planners have permanently eliminated it as an improvement option for the region.

Today, Kings Island and surrounding development are served by both the Western Row and SR 741 interchanges. Over the last 35 years approximately 80 percent of the surrounding area has been developed. Development continues and includes re-development of low volume traffic generators to high volume traffic generators. This is shown by the conversion of a campground on Kings Island Drive to the Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Water Park Resort and the addition of new businesses at the Western Row interchange, including Seapine Software and Stress Engineering. With continued traffic growth from development and re-development, the existing interchanges no longer function properly.

Proposed Solution

The Major Investment Study confirmed the need to address area interchange capacity and the operation at the existing partial interchange at I-71 and Western Row Road. The south-central section of the City of Mason also lacks direct, full access to I-71. The partial interchange is missing access to northbound I-71 and an exit from southbound I-71. These missing movements require drivers to travel to (or from) adjacent interchanges when performing these movements, increasing vehicle miles traveled on local residential roads and hours of delay at the adjacent interchanges. Ongoing economic development in the area will increase traffic in the future and therefore compound this situation. Based on input from community stakeholders and public involvement the project is moving forward in two phases:

Western Row Road and I-71 Interchange Improvements Phases


Phase 1: Columbia Road Relocation
Columbia Road Relocation Project Page

Phase 2:  I-71 Interchange Modifications
Western Row Road and I-71 Interchange Improvements Project Page

To read more about the process that was followed to develop the current recommended Preferred Alternative for the Western Row Road and I-71 Interchange Improvements project, please visit the Warren County Transportation Improvement District’s website: 

Kings Island Drive Improvements

The  purpose of the Kings Island Drive Improvements is to increase safety and to better support the traffic flow for the Kings Island Amusement Park. The improvements include the addition of a left turn lane into the park  for southbound traffic, new medians, new curbs and gutters, new traffic signals, overhead signage, decorative lighting and a bike path from Western Row Road to Great Wolf Drive.

In addition, project planners are working with Kings Island to consolidate the two existing entrances into one combined entrance near the existing north entrance. Kings Island is also making improvements to their parking lot, including new parking attendant booths.

Kings Island Drive Improvements Project Page