New estimate for Groveport bike path soars

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Groveport’s proposed bicycle path just got a little bumpy as preliminary engineering estimates for constructing the path to connect Groveport with Three Creeks Park came back much higher than expected.

Village Administrator Jon Crusey told Groveport Village Council at its April 21 committee of the whole meeting that the new estimates from the engineering firm EMH&T for the approximately 7,000 foot, 10 foot wide, asphalt bicycle path came in at $426,000. A previous rough estimate to build the bike path was $250,000.

"To say the least I was shocked (to see the engineer’s estimate)," said Councilman Ed Rarey.

"I’m floored this came in at $426,000," added Councilman Shawn Cleary.

Rarey questioned the engineer’s figures and said he thought the village’s public works department could do most of the work to make the project less costly.

Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert said council needs to be conservative in its approach, but added, "There’s such an interest in the community in this project I think we don’t dare stop. I don’t think we should skimp. We need to give back to the residents."

About the proposed bike path

Groveport purchased 2.85 acres of land from Dan Foor at a cost of $99,750 to be used for the proposed bicycle path route to connect the village to Three Creeks Park.

The acreage is a 30 foot wide strip of land that extends north from Front Street to the Elmont Place subdivision and follows the  right of way of the former Rarey Road, which once ran from Front Street to Blacklick Creek before being abandoned by Franklin County in 1929.

Once the proposed bicycle path reaches Elmont Place it would cut through an open space in the subdivision to reach Groveport’s Cruiser Park (the soccer park). From there the bicycle path would proceed through Cruiser Park and then cross both old and new Bixby Roads to reach Three Creeks Park.

Engineer’s viewpoint

EMH&T engineer Steve Farst said the  estimate includes costs for unknown contingencies that could arise in the project.

"It’s good planning to take care of unforeseen things," said Farst.

He said the original rough estimates made by a contractor did not take such factors into account.

Farst said soil conditions, American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, and the fact the path has to cross seven ditches and streams adds to the cost of the project.

Farst also said council could consider shrinking the width of the path from 10 to 8 feet, which would reduce the estimate to $370,000. In comparison, he said the path in Three Creeks Park is 12 feet wide and the path in Groveport Park is 10 feet wide.

Next steps

Crusey suggested council consider breaking the project into two phases and do one phase this year and the second phase possibly in 2009. Phase one would involve building the path from Corbett Road to Elmont Place at the estimated cost of $210,000. Phase two would take the path from Elmont Place to Three Creeks Park at a cost of $216,000.

Crusey recommended council go ahead and bid both phases of the project out to contractors to see what kind of prices the village could get.

"We can bid it out and then bring actual numbers back to council," said Crusey.

Farst said contractors are hungry for work right now, which could help lower the price. But he also noted that, logistically, building a bike path is more difficult and expensive than it appears due to narrow spaces, maneuvering equipment, and other unknown factors that may arise.

Council authorized village officials to bid both phases of the project out to see what kind of construction prices come back.

Village officials are still optimistic that construction of the bicycle path could begin in the late spring or summer of 2008. Farst said the project would require a 45 day construction window.

On a related note, Cleary commented he did not want the Bixford Green subdivision to the north left out of the bicycle path plans. Crusey stated a bike path extension from Bixford Green to Three Creeks Park could be discussed when council reviews its five year capital improvement plans this fall.

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