City awarded up to $622,725

By Nikki Blankenship - [email protected]

The long sought Portsmouth bike path, now a multi-use path has reached a major milestone. Through the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the City of Portsmouth has been awarded grant funding for the development of the multi-use path along Front Street. ODOT announced last week that the Riverfront Multi-Use Path project has been selected for funding as part of the Transportation Alternative Program (TAP).

Previously, the program has provided 80 percent of eligible costs in Federal funds. This year, however, through the Toll Revenue Credit (TRC), ODOT will be able to provide 95 percent of eligible costs up to a maximum of $622,725.

“We’re very excited with news from ODOT that we have been selected for funding in the Transportation Alternative Program,” Portsmouth Community Development Director Tracy Shearer commented. “Our project is the construction of a 1.6 mile multi-use path along Front Street beginning at Alexandria Point, crossing over the low flood wall to Riverfront Park and ending at Offnere Street. The route will connect the neighborhoods east of Shawnee State University with the University, the central city, downtown businesses, city offices, the marinas, campgrounds and parks along the Ohio River waterfront.”

The path will allow for biking and walking while providing safety from vehicular traffic.

“We wanted to separate vehicular and pedestrian traffic along the riverfront to ensure safer and more convenient travel,” Shearer commented. “This project will promote a more healthy lifestyle through activities such as walking, running and cycling and facilitate a caring, bike friendly community alongside our partner organizations like Portsmouth Connex. We believe the multi-use path will boost tourism and economic development in the downtown historic Boneyfiddle District as well as throughout the city.”

The path is estimated to cost $688,800. With maximum TAP funding, the cost to the City will only be five percent of the total cost. TAP funds are not expected to be released immediately.

“I believe funds will be available in July, so the project won’t happen overnight,” Shearer explained. “We’ll be scheduling a meeting with our ODOT District Nine TAP Coordinator to go over requirements such as state and federal laws, rules and regulations and to establish solid commitment dates. The TAP program provides funds for projects that advance non-motorized transportation for municipalities with populations less than 20,000.”

Shearer confirmed that the planning portion of the project is nearly complete. Once funds are released, the project should be shovel ready.

“The design for this project is at least 95 percent complete and we’ve met with key stakeholders such as the university and the US Army Corps of Engineers to include them in the review and discussion of the preliminary layout last summer,” she stated. “This project began in 2016, so we’re eager and thankful to finally complete it.”

By Nikki Blankenship

[email protected]

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.