Christopher Schwartz / Managing editor for design
A $7.7 million construction project closed Dodridge Street, west of Neil Avenue, and will continue to inconvenience some Ohio State commuter students for an entire academic year.
The Dodridge Street Bridge, connecting Olentangy River Road and Neil Avenue, provides a less-congested traffic route to the north campus area. The bridge, along with part of the Olentangy Trail underneath, is closed after being deemed “structurally deficient,” and received a low rating by annual inspection, Franklin County deputy engineer of bridges Jim Pajk said.
“The whole bridge is being replaced,” Pajk said. “We are going to put a bridge that looks like it will expand the Olentangy River.”
The project is on schedule and is projected to cost $7.7 million to rebuild, Pajk said.
Some students residing in houses and apartments near the bridge are frustrated with the construction, altering access to their homes.
“I live right off of Neil on north campus. Every time I want to visit home or go to work, I have to go all the way around to either Lane Avenue or North Broadway to get to Olentangy River Road or 315,” said Michael Frabott, a fifth-year in sociology and criminology.
The bridge construction delays a normal commute anywhere between five and 15 minutes, Frabott said.
The new bridge will not have a pier underneath but will have a clear span, shoulders for the roadway, wider sidewalks, pedestrian railings and an improved curve in the road path, Pajk said.
During construction, Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) modified bus routes to accommodate the closed bridge. According to COTA’s website, bus route 7 and 81 are adjusted to provide transit to campus and north of campus.
Students who ride COTA and live south of Dodridge off of Neil Avenue can ride the number 81 to Lane Avenue, and switch to the number 7 line which travels south through campus on its normal route, according to the website.
Those who travel south on the Olentangy Nature Trail from north of campus must follow a provided detour path to Olentangy River Road, adding one-tenth of a mile to the route. Students may return to the trail and continue south from Lane Avenue.
The construction of the bridge began in July and both Dodridge Street and Olentangy Trail are scheduled to re-open in August 2012, adjusting to OSU’s switch to semester classes, Pajk said.
For now, students must find alternative routes to commute and follow instructed detours until the bridge is completed.
Paul Budd, a graduate student in public health said he used Dodridge Street on a regular basis, before it was closed.
“I am sure it will be a lot nicer,” Budd said. “That bridge was kind of crumbling, but we need to just kind of live with it until it’s done, I guess.”