Athens County Bike Path Committee Wants Crack Repairs Made

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Members of the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway Committee want to get a crack repair effort under way this year, and discussed it Tuesday with the Athens County Commissioners.

The commissioners own the portion of the bike path in the unincorporated area between Athens and Nelsonville.

Committee member Bob Stoll told the commissioners that tree roots have caused the pavement to raise up at some locations, causing cracks and posing a safety concern for bicyclers and skaters.

Stoll estimated that there are more than 100 cracks that need repaired.

Stoll said there are basically three ways to deal with the problem — cut down the trees, install underground root barriers or cut the roots. He said the root barriers are best used during construction rather than retrofitting them, and he acknowledged that the solution of cutting down the trees is "probably not a very popular one."

The committee has recommended leveling the raised cracks, cutting the offending roots and sealing the cracks. They consulted with the Friends of the Little Miami State Park Trail in Southwestern Ohio, and that group uses a scarifier to grind cracks level and a ditcher to cut the roots. That method allowed the Friends group to cover 40 miles of trail in four days, using four volunteers.

The bike path committee members told the commissioners that if volunteers are used for such a project on the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, they would have to be capable of running the equipment.

Stoll asked if Courthouse maintenance staff might be available to assist with the crack repair.

"It all depends on timing and what (else) is going on," Commission President Lenny Eliason responded.

Although the issue was discussed Tuesday, no firm plans have been made on how to attack the problem. The bike path committee recommended consulting with County Engineer Jeff Maiden regarding the root encroachment problem and appropriate maintenance.

The committee, in recommending that crack repair be undertaken in 2014, also said the maintenance work will be needed at regular intervals in subsequent years.