EXPANDING INNOVATION IN MASON
City of Mason leadership partnered with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Warren County Transportation Improvement District to announce the opening of a full movement interchange at I-71 and Western Row Road in Mason – a long term, complex, and collaborative project that expands access to Mason’s growing economic hub. This full scale interchange along Mason’s I-71 Innovation Corridor is located at the front door of the City’s OakPark District, a hub for science, technology and life science investment. The expanded roadway system investment further enhances the City’s economic strategy and supports this location as a critical site within the State of Ohio and a Regional portfolio for marquee developments.
INTERCHANGE PLANNING HISTORY
The story dates back to the 1960’s when Interstate 71 construction began in Warren County and a direct connection to Cincinnati and Columbus was envisioned. In 1970, the Western Row Interchange was originally planned to accommodate predicted increased traffic to Kings Island when it opened in 1972. This partial interchange offered only an I-71 northbound exit to Western Row Road and a southbound on-ramp to I-71. Over the course of 60 years, much has changed.
Mason began its focus on long-term comprehensive planning and has seen the vision take shape with each new decade.
1962: Construction of I-71 began in Warren County.
1972: Kings Island opened as an expanded amusement park from Coney Island in Cincinnati.
1980s: Cintas, Mitsubishi Electric Automotive, L3, ATP Tennis (now Western & Southern Open), Makino open near the Western Row Interchange.
1990s: Procter and Gamble opens the Mason Business Center and need for a full interchange at Western Row is solidified.
2000s: Economic Development activities in Mason rapidly increase with corporate headquarters such as Luxottica and Intelligrated—now Honeywell-Intelligrated. First stages of interchange process, design and funding concepts are explored.
2010s: Mason partners with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the newly formed Warren County Transportation Improvement District (WCTID) to complete studies, submit applications, secure funding, and construct the remaining portions of the Western Row Interchange.
In just the past five years, as the interchange work was in final planning stages, the City has continued its trend of significant economic investment in the OakPark District, which encompasses businesses along the I-71 corridor from Western Row to Kings Mills. New businesses since 2013 include examples such as medical device manufacturer AtriCure, global advanced automation mechatronics leader Festo, and healthcare administrator Chard Snyder. In addition, expansions have contributed to major job growth at Procter & Gamble’s Mason Business Center (doubling the size of the company’s largest R&D hub on its 240 acre campus), Festo’s Mason Hub of the Americas (which will nearly triple its footprint and add 350 additional jobs), and personalized medicine and genomics company Myriad Neuroscience (formerly Assurex Health, doubles its space and is positioned to scale for continued growth). A fourth major expansion was also completed at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, home to the international Western & Southern Open tennis tournament which expanded center court capacity to over 185,000 fans.
This $40 million dollar economic hub, gateway development and infrastructure upgrade has been a priority commitment of the City’s for nearly 30 years. Mason business leaders have played a significant role in bringing this important interchange to fruition. Funding a complex and significant project is the direct result of the support and partnership of key stakeholders. Companies such as Cintas, Harris Products Group, Myriad Neuroscience, Fanuc, Festo, Intelligrated, Atricure, Rhinestahl, L-3, Kings Island, Great Wolf Lodge, Stress Engineering, Western & Southern Open, Linder Center of Hope, Makino, Mitsubishi Automotive Electric America, and more have long collaborated with City, County, and regional officials to provide a voice and support for this project.
The new ramps establish both on and off access to and from north and southbound I-71 and opened six months ahead of schedule while remaining on budget. Residents, visitors and businesses will have on and off access to Western Row and back onto I-71 in all directions. Access points on and off I-71 increase from two to six. The new ramps separate transportation activity on the eastside which often peaks from traffic activity on the west. The overall project gives drivers multiple options and shortens the time to and from on and off ramps for all.
The gateway development will continue to evolve as finishing touches, landscaping, and signage begin to be installed. The completion of the interchange roadway system is just the beginning. This area is an important economic base for Mason, Warren County, and Ohio. It is recognizable outside the State of Ohio as home to world-class research and development institutions and enterprises located along the I-71 corridor from Cincinnati to Cleveland. Mason has gained national attention as a key location for innovation businesses to start-up, invest, and create jobs and this new gateway is anticipated to continue to capture some of the most sought after projects in the country.
Here is a detailed look at the changes to your everyday commute with the opening of the new ramps.
The new roadway system improves safety and traffic flow and is expected to shave time for both early and late commuters. The big picture focuses on tomorrow by making sure we have invested in our infrastructure today. It helps us build our entryway by giving more definition to our sense of place and culture of our City. And, it confidently welcomes the future.
Welcome to Innovation.
Welcome to Mason.