Harshman Road wall near Wright-Patterson to be reimagined

Vehicles move along Harshman Rd. near the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Riverside service director Kathy Bartlett says the city plans to replace the road and the wall as the wall is at the end of its useful life. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
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Vehicles move along Harshman Rd. near the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Riverside service director Kathy Bartlett says the city plans to replace the road and the wall as the wall is at the end of its useful life. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Riverside will begin repair work on barrier next year, but city plans to rebuild road before 2025.

RIVERSIDE — A barrier built nearly 50 years ago to reduce collisions on Harshman Road near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is crumbling and the curvature of the busy roadway is outdated.

The city of Riverside is planning to repair sections of the wall that separates traffic near the Air Force Museum beginning next year, and plans to replace the wall and redesign the roadway within the next few years.

The first repair phase will cost about $220,000, said Kathy Bartlett, service director for Riverside, something the city has the ability to pay for. But in a feasibility study from last year, estimates of the wall replacement ranged from between $7 million to $8 million and up to $15 million.

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An artist's rendering shows what future plans for Harshman Road near Wright-Patterson could look like without a barrier wall.

An artist's rendering shows what future plans for Harshman Road near Wright-Patterson could look like without a barrier wall.
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An artist's rendering shows what future plans for Harshman Road near Wright-Patterson could look like without a barrier wall.

The city plans to have a project in place to replace the current road and wall by 2025 or earlier. The city can’t move forward on the project until they have funding in place, she said, but the city plans to work with an outside group, the Montgomery County Transpiration Improvement District, which would help the city figure out what funds and grants they may be eligible for.

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“They’re instrumental in trying to secure funding for projects like this, because it’s really more than the city can handle by itself,” Bartlett said.

City council will vote on Thursday on whether to start a contract with the Montgomery County TID.

Bartlett said the need to replace the wall and the road is high at this point.

The curvature of the road is no longer up to standards, she said. There have also been multiple car accidents where people crash into the wall. More than 20,000 vehicles a day travel on the roadway.

Before the wall was first built, there were several head-on collisions, including at least one death.

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Now, the wall is about 50 years old and concrete only lasts for about 50 years, Bartlett said.

Bartlett said two sections of the wall also bowed out during the heat of the summer and they are no longer stable. During an inspection over the summer, the city discovered there were ants in the wall.

Sara Lommatzsch, deputy mayor, said during a city council work session Thursday the city needs to fix the wall because it’s a liability.

“I think the liability of not fixing the wall is what we have to put front and center,” she said.

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The city plans to replace the current roadway and wall with a redesigned road with grass in the middle. There will also be curbs and gutters along the side of the road, which would make the road feel narrower.

Making the road feel narrower so people are forced to go slower could help with the accident problem, Bartlett said. The current speed limit on that road is 45 mph. The city has also suggested dropping the speed limit on the road to 35 mph.

Bartlett said beginning next year, the worst parts of the wall should be fixed.

“The first phase of repairs should take care of the worst sections in that inspection which took place this summer,” Bartlett said.

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Vehicles move along Harshman Rd. near the National Museum of the United States Air Force. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Vehicles move along Harshman Rd. near the National Museum of the United States Air Force. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
Caption
Vehicles move along Harshman Rd. near the National Museum of the United States Air Force. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

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