Xem thêm

West Whittier Street Bridge in Columbus to Get Upgraded Foot-Bike Path and Trail Connector

CEO Khai Intela
Bicycle and pedestrian access from the Brewery District and German Village to the Scioto Audubon Metro Park is about to become safer and more convenient. The Columbus City Council has approved a $3.44 million project...

The current West Whittier Street bridge in Columbus, seen here, which connects South Front Street in the Brewery District and German Village to Scioto Audubon Metro Park over busy railroad tracks, has a 6-foot-wide sidewalk protected only by a curb and bicyclists must share the two-lane roadway with vehicles. Columbus City Council on Monday agreed to spend $3.44 million on a new bridge with a 10-foot-wide shared-use path for walkers and bicyclists that would be protected from vehicles with a barrier wall.

Bicycle and pedestrian access from the Brewery District and German Village to the Scioto Audubon Metro Park is about to become safer and more convenient. The Columbus City Council has approved a $3.44 million project to replace the West Whittier Street bridge, enhancing connectivity and ensuring a better experience for commuters and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Bridge Upgrade for Safer Travel

The current West Whittier Street bridge serves as the sole access over the busy CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks to the Scioto Audubon Metro Park, offering walking and biking trails and various recreational facilities. However, the bridge's current design falls short in providing adequate safety measures for pedestrians and cyclists. With a narrow 6-foot-wide sidewalk only protected by a curb, cyclists are forced to share the roadway with vehicles.

Upon completion of the new bridge, these safety concerns will be addressed. The upgraded structure will boast a wider 10-foot-wide shared-use path exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists. Furthermore, a protective wall will shield them from any potential vehicle traffic hazards. The new bridge and its accompanying aprons will also eliminate the existing 1,250-foot gap between South Front Street and the entrance to the Scioto River Trail.

"This is another initiative aimed at ensuring safe passage for everyone," stated Councilmember Lourdes Barroso de Padilla, who chairs the council's Public Service and Transportation Committee.

A Bridge Connecting Communities

Columbus City Council on Monday approved spending $3.44 million to construct a new West Whittier Street bridge that will provide a 10-foot-wide, shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists to access Scioto Audubon Metropark from South Front Street in the Brewery District and German Village.

Interestingly, the construction of a new 750-apartment complex adjacent to Scioto Audubon Metro Park is progressing simultaneously. The primary entrance and exit to this development will be linked to the West Whittier Street bridge. Council President Pro Tem Rob Dorans, who chairs the council's Zoning Committee, explained that while the bridge replacement was planned prior to the apartment complex, the project's timeline may have been expedited due to it.

In 2022, city officials projected that the new bridge would accommodate an additional 1.5 million car trips annually, equivalent to around 4,100 daily trips, to and from the apartment complex. Consequently, negotiations with Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks regarding the allocation of park land were necessary. The strip of land in question is vital for a new entrance connected to the bridge apron. However, it was reported that the developers revised their site plan to utilize a narrower strip of land they already own along the railroad tracks to connect the roadway serving the new apartment buildings to the Whittier bridge.

An official preconstruction meeting with the contractor is scheduled for February, where the project's start date will be determined. Weather permitting, the bridge replacement project is expected to be completed by fall. During construction, two-way traffic will be maintained across the bridge. Deborah Briner, spokesperson for the city Public Service Department, shared that the timing of the project is unrelated to the apartment development. It is simply a rehabilitation project.

Other Council Approvals

In addition to the bridge replacement, the council has also authorized the purchase of $398 million in wholesale electricity and other electric services from American Municipal Power, Inc., a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by member public utilities. These services will be resold to customers by the city. The total cost represents a $61.4 million increase from the previous year's purchase. It is noteworthy that the city's expenditure on wholesale power for 2024 will surpass its expenditure on police protection for the same period.

For more information, please contact [email protected] or reach out to @ReporterBush on Twitter.

1