Menu Close

Mill Creek Expressway Phase 5B

ODOT Project 3000-20
Mill Creek Expressway Phase 5B
Cincinnati, OH

The Mill Creek Expressway Phase 5B project is one of twelve contracts for the state of Ohio as part of ODOT’s ambitious Mill Creek Expressway Mega Project, totaling $650 million. The Mill Creek Expressway projects will widen, rebuild, and resurface I-75 between Paddock Road and the Western Hills Viaduct and includes several new interchanges in Hamilton County. 

Great Lakes has been working on the Phase 5B portion of the project since 2021 with a planned completion of September 2025. This $86 million project was part of a two-step low-bid design-build project. Great Lakes’ impressive Statement of Qualifications package resulted in a short-listed bidder opportunity. From then, Great Lakes teamed with design firms E.L. Robinson and Palmer Engineering to design the project and submit the lowest cost. 

The contract includes both design and construction components. The design package included complete geotechnical investigation and design, Federal, State, and USACE permitting, roadway design, structural designs, and utility coordination/relocation packages. Great Lakes’ oversight and collaboration with the design team resulted in eight Alternative Technical Concepts (ATCs) to the Owner’s contract. These ATCs yielded over $8 million in project savings to the Owner and several millions more for long-term maintenance reductions. The most notable ATC included reconfiguring an exit ramp location which allowed for the elimination of the second longest bridge on the project. 

Awarded during the pandemic (July 2021) and without a final design, the linchpin of the project’s success was to open traffic onto the 1,876’ long curved steel girder bridge (Ramp O) by March 1st, 2024. As if not challenging enough, the bridge spanned five railroad tracks, a USACE navigable waterway, two city streets, one ODOT interstate, and the foundation locations were located adjacent to multiple century-old utilities. Immediately upon award, the team negotiated with several steel fabricators to lock in shop time over a year in advance of having an actual design. The team’s ability to develop innovative technical and process solutions allowed for streamlined approval processes through Norfolk Southern Railroad, CSX Railroad, USACE, several utility owners, and ODOT. Great Lakes’ successful implementation of a collaborative Design Task Force approach met the fabrication shop time and ultimately led to the delivery of the girders and the opening of the bridge on time. 

Construction began slowly in March 2022 with two crews then quickly escalated to over sixty Great Lakes’ union employees (plus subs) in July 2022. The team carried that momentum through November 2023. The work required to open the Ramp O bridge to traffic on time also included 3,000’ of 3rd lane interstate widening, 60,000 SF of MSE wall, soil improvements like wick drains and over-excavation, and two bridge widenings and rehabilitations.

The team is currently planning to complete the self-perform work and put traffic in its final configuration at the end of 2024…five months early. 2024 remains to be a challenging season with a tight schedule. The remaining work includes two noisewalls, two complex bridge rehabilitations, a new pedestrian bridge, and one mile of new drainage and interstate reconstruction. 

The biggest successes of this project are the development of our people, the relationship with our owner, and the relationships with our vendors.