The City of Athens held a public involvement meeting Tuesday to get feedback on designs for the Richland Avenue pedestrian passageway project.

“The purpose of this is to get feedback for the design,” Athens City Engineer and Public Works Director Andy Stone said.

The Burgess & Niple engineering and architecture firm has created two possible designs for the passageway, the “brick alternative” and the “O alternative.”

“People seem to like the ‘O’ design better,” Steve Thieken, Burgess & Niple’s director of transportation system planning and design, said.

Burgess & Niple will work with Buckley Engineering, a local engineering and survey firm, on the project.

The purpose of the project is to eliminate daily vehicular and pedestrian conflict at the crossing  on Richland Avenue.

Stone said the traffic at the crossing gets congested during class changes, and he has seen three crashes. There have been no fatalities.

“We’ve started coming up with solutions in the last 10 years,” Stone said.

The project will install a pedestrian passageway in the same location that will allow traffic to pass over the crossing and reconfigure Richland Avenue to allow left-hand turns onto Bobcat Lane.

“We don’t anticipate any environmental impact,” Stone said. “It’s easier to build in areas that were previously disturbed.”

He also said any trees cut down to build the passageway will be replanted.

The project will cost approximately $2.1 million. The city has received $1.8 million from the Transportation Alternatives Program Funds through the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Construction will begin early in summer 2019 and end in August of that year. 


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