“We’re really excited in getting connected to the (Great Miami) River,” said Chris Pozzuto, Springboro city manager. “This will help connect us to Cincinnati and Dayton.”
Franklin City Manager Jonathan Westendorf said the project has been in the works for nearly seven years.
“We are so pleased that our bike trail project is finally getting underway,” he said. “This effort has been in the planning stages for years and this project ties in perfectly with our upcoming redevelopment plans.”
Westendorf said the project moves the city one step closer to becoming a destination of choice where healthy and active lifestyles are a centerpiece against the natural beauty of the Great Miami Riverway.
The project was originally expected to start in October but was delayed due to skyrocketing costs due to unanticipated costs. Franklin had to come up with more than $732,000 for its local share.
Last March, the Ohio Department of Transportation, which is managing the project, notified Franklin officials that the city would be required to pay an additional $1.26 million on top of the $494,843 in funds already committed. ODOT said the rapidly increasing cost of the prefabricated steel bridge structure required for the project was the reason for the additional project costs.
“The cost of the prefabricated steel bridge structure increased $700,000 alone in one week,” Westendorf said last March. “There is no way we could have anticipated a price increase like that.”
He said the span of the steel bridge structure will be about 320 feet long.
Because of this and other issues, ODOT’s new estimated total cost of the project will be more than $3.74 million, and the city’s local share went to more than $1.56 million.
To help mitigate the higher costs due to pricing volatility, the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission increased the federal grant by 10% or nearly $200,000. In addition, ODOT is allowing the city a rare exception to pay half of the local costs now and the balance in January 2023, Westendorf said.