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Construction creates safety hazards at Ohio State

Cameron Weimer / Lantern photographer

The loud noises of heavy machinery and narrow lanes leading to slow-moving traffic are just part of everyday life on Ohio State’s campus. However, the change in traffic flow that some of the construction zones cause present safety hazards for pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists alike.
“During the summer, they told us that most of it would have been gone by now,” said Shawn Gillman, a first-year in mathematics.
“There are any number of things that can impact the flow of traffic on campus,” stated Lindsey Komlanc, spokeswoman for OSU Administration and Planning, in an email. “We have an extremely high concentration of motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists that are using or interacting with our roadways in a relatively small geographic area.”
OSU student James Hughes was struck and run over by a dump truck while riding his bicycle on the sidewalk Sept. 5 outside a construction zone on Woodruff Avenue. Nearly a month later, he remains in the surgical intensive care unit at Wexner Medical Center Thursday evening.
According to his family lawyer Steve Crandall, Hughes has sustained serious injuries as a result of the accident and has been undergoing significant surgeries. Hughes had to have one of his legs amputated as a result of the accident.
Komlanc said it’s important that people understand what role pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers play in the flow of campus traffic.
“Most people have likely used at least two of the three modes of transportation (motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian) and it’s important for everyone to be aware of the fact that all three of these modes of transportation participate equally in following all traffic laws,” said Komlanc in an email.
Rory Kelly, a second-year in biomedical engineering, said he thinks OSU isn’t doing “too bad” of a job keeping paths open for all forms of transportation.
“(OSU is) known for always being under construction,” Kelly said. “People just expect it.”
However, Kelly said that OSU could do a better job broadcasting where the construction is being done.
Komlanc said in the email that these projects are communicated to students, faculty and staff through OSU Today, OSU Weekly and Buckeye Net News, and in certain cases, digital monitors in the Ohio Union, Thompson Library and residence halls. Informational signs hang along the construction fence of every project as well.
“These signs are a very effective tool for getting the basic information about a particular project out to the community at large because you can view them as you are in the area of the project,” said Komlanc in an email.
Several of the campus construction projects have been delayed past their initial expected completion, including the construction project on the Math Tower and Science and Engineering Library, which was expected to be finished in August. According to an Oct. 1 Lantern article, the project is half-finished and isn’t expected to be completed until December. After going over budget and switching construction companies, the South Oval geothermal well project is expected to be completed in October 2013.
The university has a website, www.go43210.osu.edu, that provides construction, traffic and parking-related information that impacts the OSU area.
Komlanc said everyone needs to be more careful navigating in areas where there is construction.
“It’s important to note that everyone plays a role in maintaining traffic safety on our campus,” Komlanc stated in the email. “All forms and modes of transportation, including motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, skateboarders, etc., must actively participate and share the road, understand traffic laws and be aware of their surroundings.”

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