May 18 2009

This was certainly a Roads Scholaring for the books! This was the first time I ever came close to drowning while investigating an area's roads or other geographic features. But who cares when the more important thing is the public's amusement, right?

Water Street runs off Eustace Avenue in an unincorporated area near Fort Thomas. In this video, the Peace Bike trends downhill on this narrow country road. The clip ends at a forgotten road off Water. I later learned the hard way how Water Street must have gotten its name.

West on that obscure road off Water. This road parallels the north side of Threemile Creek. It isn't really abandoned, but it's pretty much unused. As you go west, it declines from mostly gravel, to dirt covered with straw, to mud. One map from the mid-20th century shows gobs of roads back here. No trace remains of most of them.

Continuing on that little-known road.

On the north side of the road, there's the remnants of what appears to have been a huge, round tank of some sort. This is the outside of the tank.

Inside the giant tank. Someone had piled logs in the middle of the tank to build a campfire.

Still on that strange road - which was apparently still public property, because I did see a right-of-way marker. Right here, the road fords an intermittent creek that flows into Threemile Creek. This is probably the stream that flows down from Highland Country Club south of Blossom Lane.

Another photo showing the declining condition of the road, as trees block the way.

Down here, the road is practically all mud, and another tree blocks it up ahead.

The road ends as it circles around that cluster of trees. At this point, the road may have been the old Closs Road. I-471 is up on the berm on the left where the streetlight is.

Now the real danger begins! Near the end of that weird road is this tunnel, which carries Threemile Creek under I-471. This is the tunnel's east portal. The tunnel is about a quarter-mile long, and it bears a date of 1974 (although this part of I-471 didn't open until the early 1980s). Notice that it has some sort of stalactite adhering to the ceiling. Whatever you do, don't go anywhere near the other end of this tunnel. I'll tell you why in a moment.

In this clip, I'm walking west through the tunnel under I-471. The water here was only about an inch deep - but that changed very abruptly.

Don't go anywhere near this. It's far more dangerous than it looks, as I found out. The tunnel under I-471 emerges here in Wilder. The inch-deep water has a very sudden drop-off, which can't be seen because the water is murky. I fell off the invisible drop-off and nearly drowned as it becomes probably 6 feet deep. (This fall also aggravated my arthritis.) It has no warning at all. And no, I'm not referring to the rocks up ahead; the drop-off is before that. Meanwhile, if you can see the water dripping down the wall at left, that's drainage from along I-471.

A video running most of the length of Blange Road in Highland Heights. I went downhill like this so I could dry out. There's a consensus that Blange once connected with Blangey Road off KY 8. I suspect that it still does using a narrow trail, but I found the trail blocked.

Going back the other way on Blange. And believe me, this wasn't quite as easy.

Continuing up Blange.

South on US 27 in Highland Heights at Louie B. Nunn Drive. It's odd to see a KY 2238 marker here. KY 2238 uses Nunn Drive, but the highway number usually isn't marked here. This sign is for a detour in place during construction on Three Mile Road (which seems to happen about once every 6 months).

A white stop sign??? Highland Heights kept many yellow stop signs standing long after they had vanished elsewhere, but this white wooden stop sign seems to be pretty new. This is on one of the stubs off Highland Ridge Boulevard.

I got photos here back in 2006 that I pledged to reshoot if I got the chance. I finally made good on my vow. From the junction of Sunset Drive and University Drive, this is looking towards the west side of Cincinnati. The wonders of a zoom lens allow us to clearly see the high rise near 8th & Matson and what I believe to be Cincinnati Christian University. Those sites are about 7 miles from here.

Northeast on US 27 in Highland Heights, approaching Bordeaux Drive. The "BOWL" sign (which is for a bowling alley) has become iconic. This landmark sign has stood since at least the 1970s. The blue arrow on the right-hand side of the sign was orange until about 1990.

Looking northeast on Covert Run Pike at Rossford Avenue. This barrier and traffic light were for a temporary closure. We're presumably just within Bellevue, looking into Fort Thomas.

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