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Metro Parks eyes September as finish date for trail
Metro Parks hopes to have the Blacklick Trail bridge over U.S. Route 33 ready for use by September.
Originally the bridge was to be installed last fall, but construction delays and then rainy weather in the spring stalled the process.
According to Nancy Burton of the Ohio Department of Transportation, workers are waiting for the wood for the bridge’s floor decking to be delivered.
“The hardwood is coming from Brazil and we are expecting to receive delivery by late July,” Burton said.
She said it’s hoped that, once the wood is received, construction of the bridge can be completed in August and the bridge open for use by September.
“It’s contingent on the delivery of the hardwood,” Burton said.
Once the 737-foot bridge is in place, it will connect the newly extended Blacklick Trail to existing paths that will enable cyclists, runners and walkers to travel the five miles from Three Creeks Metro Park to Pickerington Ponds.
The bridge over U.S. 33 will consist of seven pre-fabricated sections made of weathering steel, which means it will not need to be painted.
According to Steve Brown, Metro Parks chief landscape architect, the bridge over the highway is needed because there is not enough clearance to go under U.S. 33 at Blacklick Creek.
After the multi-use trail crosses U.S. 33, it follows Blacklick Creek, goes under Winchester Pike at the road bridge and follows Shannon Road, finally connecting to an existing path north of Shannon Road that leads to Pickerington Ponds.
As part of the project, Shannon Road was straightened as it approaches Winchester Pike.
According to Steve Studenmund, strategic planning and land acquisition manager for Metro Parks, the Winchester Pike underpass and realignment of Shannon Road cost $790,000 and included about 2,000 feet of trail. This portion of the project was funded 100 percent by Metro Parks.
The entire Blacklick Creek/U.S. 33 trail project cost is $2.056 million, with 80 percent funded through the Transportation Enhancement Grant Program through Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Federal Highway Administration. Metro Parks funded the remaining 20 percent.
Planning and design cost approximately $800,000, funded 100 percent by Metro Parks. The project included land acquisition of $80,000 funded by ODOT.
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