Fairborn traffic work near Wright State, business corridor targets safety

Crews are working to complete a $2.3 million traffic safety project along Colonel Glenn Highway near Wright State University in Fairborn. The project includes installing sidewalks, bike path and pedestrian access along the busiest traffic corridor in the city. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Crews are working to complete a $2.3 million traffic safety project along Colonel Glenn Highway near Wright State University in Fairborn. The project includes installing sidewalks, bike path and pedestrian access along the busiest traffic corridor in the city. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

FAIRBORN — Traffic safety upgrades near Wright State University on Fairborn’s busiest road aim to improve pedestrian access in a restaurant and business corridor.

The $2.3 million project along Colonel Glenn Highway includes the installation of curbs, sidewalks, a bike path and crosswalks in a 45 mph speed limit zone that averages more than 18,000 vehicles daily with several eateries across the road from the university, City Engineer Lee Harris said.

The speed and volume of traffic combined with the lack of dedicated pedestrian access spurred the city to draw up plans several years ago and consult with WSU, Harris said.

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Map of traffic safety upgrades near Wright State University on Colonel Glenn Highway.

Map of traffic safety upgrades near Wright State University on Colonel Glenn Highway.

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Map of traffic safety upgrades near Wright State University on Colonel Glenn Highway.

Accessibility is Wright State’s top traffic concern along Colonel Glenn, and Fairborn’s project “brings an invaluable safety component in addition to the attractive curb appeal,” said Seth Bauguess, the school’s communications director.

“Adding walking lanes on both sides of (the road) and providing pedestrians a safe path along and across the road were paramount for the university,” he said in an email. “This project addresses and every aspect of this concern.”

The work, which the city targets for completion before WSU classes start Aug. 22, has closed traffic lanes in the area. But the need for the improvements has long been apparent, Harris said.

“You could see the path where they were walking. It would not have any grass on it. They were basically wearing a trail,” Harris added. “So, we knew that it was being used. It wasn’t (compliant for people with disabilities). It wasn’t really safe.”

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The upgrades cover about 1.1 miles just west of University Boulevard to just east of Paramount Place and from North Fairfield to Old Yellow Springs roads, Harris said.

They include constructing a 10-foot-wide, multi-use path on the north side of Colonel Glenn while installing new sidewalks and brick pavers at all cross streets on the south side of the highway, Fairborn records show.

The work also involves new storm infrastructure and streetscape and landscape featuring a decorative stone plaza along the corridor, according to the city.

The project received about $1.27 million in state funding, and Fairborn will pay the rest, Harris said.

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It began about six years ago, but costs caused the city to divide the work into phases, he said. Much of the project resumed last summer, when Ohio funds became available, Harris added.

The plans, Bauguess said, were “very accommodating of our needs and bring much desired beautification to our campus’s ‘front door.’”

The Colonel Glenn corridor near the university has not been a high traffic-accident area, Fairborn Mayor Paul Keller said.

“This is more preventative and looking out for the students’ safety over there — trying to get in front of that,” Keller said. “There’s foot traffic back and forth there. A good bit of traffic at times.”

A fatal wreck on another section of Colonel Glenn killed a Dayton man April 26. The head-on collision occurred at the Mission Point Boulevard, west of the Wright State corridor in Beavercreek Twp., authorities said.

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