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Athens and OU collaborate on roadway project

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Ohio University officials proposed a long-term plan seeking to extend South Green Drive from Richland Avenue to Mill Street during a meeting with Athens City Council on Monday.

Harry Wyatt, associate vice president for facilities at Ohio University, presented the plan to extend South Green Drive around New Life Church, past the recreation fields and connect it to Mill Street.

“The main goal of this project is to take regular traffic to the outside of the campus and create a better and local service traffic,” Wyatt said.

In addition to the road extension, Wyatt elaborated on other road improvement projects included in the plans, which would begin this summer.

“An alternative entry from Stimson Avenue that carries on through to McKinley Avenue with a new connector to East Union Street via Jefferson Hill up to College Green and over to Uptown Athens is what we want to accomplish eventually,” Wyatt said.

Ideas for another roundabout at the proposed Stimson Avenue connecting point were also explored during the Monday night presentation.

“With the success we had with the Richland Avenue roundabout, it’s completely feasible that we add one connecting U.S. (Rt.) 33 to the university,” said At-Large Representative Steve Patterson.

The plan allows for traffic rerouting in the case of major road projects, such as the Richland Avenue-Oxbow Bridge construction that took place last summer.

“Whenever we can get detour possibilities on the other side of town, that’s a real help,” Wyatt said.

According to the plan, the extended roadways are not just planned for vehicles; they will also consist of sidewalks and bike lanes, which will connect to the bike path.

The dorms being constructed between Clippinger Laboratory and South Green are part of this plan as well, Wyatt said. Once these dorms are fully operational, they plan to take down some of the old dorms on South Green and make room for more recreation fields.

The cost of the extension, which will cover city and university property, is estimated at $1.5 million, with additional installations coming in part of a greater Northeast Campus Roadway project pushing the full cost of the project to about $8 million to $9 million. The project will be funded by Ohio University, the city of Athens and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“This is a bigger vision as well, in terms of network for the city, safety, everything that we are concerned about. I think the collaborative effort is what has really helped that vision to form,” said Third Ward Representative Michele Papai.

 

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