Athens County Planner Jessie Powers presented bridge feasibility estimates to the Athens County Commissioners for the Chauncey bikeway extension project, but the project needs further design issues addressed.

The engineering firm has created three options that the commissioners were presented with, but ultimately the body decided to go with a single-span, pre-fabricated truss bridge. The project has been awarded $1.5 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation. The bridge will cost $1.574 million.

“It’s a little over-budget,” Powers said, noting that there could be cost-savings once contractors get down into the project.

The project will connect the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway from River Road across the Hocking River and enter the Village of Chauncey parallel to Main Street.

The other two bridge options were a single-span historical truss bridge that would have cost an additional $500,000 or a three-span pre-stressed boxspring bridge.

From a maintenance perspective, the single-span options were determined to be the best as an Athens County bridge on Currier Street requires regular boat-facilitated maintenance to remove branches, logs and debris from the piers that enter the water.

However, the path itself will require further attention as well. A previous discussion centered around raising the path from the flood plain. Parts of the path are still below the five-year flood plain, although others are now in

the clear.

“So the bridge is elevated, but other portions of it will actually be at grade — the existing elevation of the area,” she explained.

“So we’re staying underwater?” questioned Commissioner Charlie Adkins.

“From time to time, most likely, that will happen,” she said. “Where we’re coming ... it’s basically where the old canal was. They’ll have to do some fill and grading, and there will be design features in place to be able to withstand floods, but I don’t think we have enough funding in there to elevate the whole thing. If that’s something we’re interested in, I think (the engineering firm) could figure that out for us.”

Adkins noted he thought he had been clear that the project must be above the flood plain.

“I will not support another project like we’re dealing with down on Route 50 East,” he said. “Which is underwater, and then you get the bicyclists down there after it rains wanting it cleaned, and we don’t have the equipment or people to do that. Now we’re going to build another bikepath that’s underwater. I’ve been there three times this year where the area where the path will be and at least there been 2-3 feet of water in that area.”

He asked if Chauncey will be maintaining the path portion inside the village.

Powers said that conversation could happen, and that this project is different from the project extending the Bikeway to Canaanville Road (County Road 24A). She said that section is lower.

“Because of that old canal, there is part of it that is built up which is what we will be using, but part of it does slope down,” she said. “But I think elevating the whole bikeway will be quite costly.”

Commissioner Lenny Eliason said that there will not be a project if parts of it are below the 5-year flood plain.

She was unable to answer how low parts of the path was, stating that the level of surveying detail was not yet completed.

“(The design team) will meet our design standard, but right now they have not spec’ed out every part of it so we don’t know concretely what parts are what,” she said.

She was asked to discuss the matter with the Chauncey governmental officers and with the design team.

Additionally, some land may need to be acquired as there was a mistake in the amount of property acquired prior. However, other options like an easement or a contract to use the space for a bikepath if executed in a certain space of time.

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