For a number of years, officials with Portsmouth Connex have been exploring the idea of establishing dedicated activity routes (bicycle, running, and walking) in Scioto County. Connex has already installed bike racks throughout the city of Portsmouth to encourage people to ride their bikes. Recently, they announced a partnership with Scioto County Engineer, Craig Opperman, to establish the first designated bike route in Scioto County.
Wendi Waugh, Vice President of Portsmouth Connex, said the route is from the bridge on Mackletree Road Bridge in Shawnee State Forest to the Otway Covered Bridge which is about 40 miles round trip.
“Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman is leaving office and said he was going to get this (designated bike route) done, prior to leaving office. He felt like this was huge for the community and wanted to follow through with this,” Waugh said.
She said the organization could not be happier with the results of the partnership and what it will mean to the biking community in Scioto County.
To travel the complete route, Waugh said, “from the Mackletree Bridge, the rider would head west on Mackletree Road, turn right onto Upper Twin Creek-Rocky Fork Road, and turn right onto State Route 348. The Otway Covered Bridge is located on the left less than a mile from the intersection of State Route 348. The route has been named Bridge to Bridge and is denoted as Route B.”
Signs have been erected along the route to help riders stay on the path.
According to released information from Connex about the route, “this route was identified as a potential first route because the intersecting roads were primarily county or township roads and both ending destinations are connected historically to the community and have provisions for water and facilities.”
Waugh said having these historical markers on either side of the route, may expose participants to a part of Scioto County’s history they may not be aware of.
Opperman said in a released statement, having a designated bike route is a tremendous opportunity.
“The bonus to the designated ‘Bridge to Bridge’ route is the attractions at the ends of the route.” Opperman continues, “The Otway end has the Otway Covered Bridge and the Shawnee Park end has the newly constructed Mackletree Road bridge which will have a historic display (under construction) about the Shawnee State Park and Forest including facts about the Civil Conservation Corp. Visitors to Shawnee State Park now have an additional attraction that while cycling the forest can experience some of the history of the area,” Opperman said in a released statement.
Other agencies involved in implementing the route include the Ohio Department Of Transportation and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Opperman said the route could provide economic development opportunities for the county and avid riders come to the area to bike the route.
Waugh said Connex plans to offer guided rides on the route this spring.
Connex is also gearing up to host its annual membership update meeting in January. Officials with the organization will provide updates to members on the accomplishments of 2016 and the plans for 2017.
Annual membership into the organization is $10 a year.
The meeting will take place Tuesday, January 24th at 5:30pm. at the SOMC Cancer Center Conference Room.
For more information about the programs and activities of Connex visit connexmoves.org or find them on Facebook.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneAllenPDT on Twitter