Two Major Construction Projects Move Forward

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Two major construction projects aimed at improving pedestrian and bicycle routes in Athens will be headed towards the design phase pending Athens City Council approval.

Finance and Personnel Committee Chair Chris Knisely said the Public Works and Engineering Department would like to begin the design phase of the Columbus Road Bikepath Spur in order to begin construction in 2014 as scheduled.

The city already has $1 million in grant funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for the project.

Knisely said the city will probably only need to use about $765,000 of the funds for construction.  The city is borrowing money from the street fund to pay for its share of the grant. 

In addition to the bike path project, the city is planning to begin the design engineering phase of the Richland Avenue South project. 

The Public Works and Engineering office is asking for authorization to apply for a transportation alternatives grant program to supplement the $1 million already appropriated for the project. 

Knisely said it will be an important investment for the city since 10 percent of the population lives on the south side of town. 

"We're a unique small city in that we have over 20 percent of our population that either transports themselves the Athens community on foot or on a bicycle or uses a bus, so it's very important to keep that up to date," Knisely said.