Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, May 15 newspaper on Page A3.
Grants will be sought from the Ohio Department of Transportation for a maintenance project on the Hocking Adena Bikeway and to make further improvements to a segment of the Athens-Belpre Rail Trail, the Athens County Commissioners decided Tuesday.
The funding, if approved, would come from ODOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which provides grant funds for non-motorized transportation projects.
County Planner Jessie Powers presented the commissioners with updated project budget estimates. The cost estimates are higher than previously mentioned.
The more costly of the two projects would make improvements to the surface of 5.8 miles of the Athens-Belpre Rail Trail near Frost. Estimated at $940,054, the county’s share of that amount would be an estimated $78,337.
Part of the application process involves agreeing to cover the local share, and Commissioner Charlie Adkins wanted clarification on that commitment. Powers said if the grant were awarded, the county would still have to vote to accept it. Adkins indicated he wanted to be clear on that, in case the county doesn’t have the $78,377 available at the time.
The project calls for putting down geotextile on that segment of the trail, putting gravel on top of that, and adding culverts, signage, bollards and gates, Powers said. It was stated at a previous meeting that the improvements would make the trail more suitable for horseback riding and for use in wet weather.
The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway project involves putting new sealant on the more than 12-mile section owned by the county, between the Currier Street bridge at Athens and Hocking College. Prior to sealing, cracks would be repaired and deep asphalt repairs made at some locations. Also, the project includes 120 replacement signs, Powers said.
The project estimate is $274,096, which the county’s share of that amount estimated at $12,459. Adkins suggested the possibility of using money from the bike path maintenance fund (which comes from donations) to help cover part of the local share, and asked Powers to notify the Bike Path Advisory Committee that use of the funds is being considered.