Ohio University

Richland Avenue Passageway Project completed

Published: October 23, 2020 Author: Staff reports

The below is a joint message from Athens Mayor Steve Patterson and Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis.

Today we have the opportunity to celebrate a great accomplishment – the construction of the Richland Avenue Pedestrian Passageway has been completed, with the exception of permanent street marking which will occur this Monday, weather permitting.

The project, in planning since 2015, was completed between West Green Drive and Bobcat Lane, improving the safety of pedestrians by eliminating the notorious at-grade crossing on Richland Avenue near Grover Center and Porter Hall.

Richland Avenue is the main principal arterial on the south side of the City of Athens. With an Average Daily Traffic Count of 9,800 vehicles (2018 data), the avenue serves approximately one-third of the City's population. The previous at-grade crossing on Richland Avenue saw approximately 6,500 pedestrians per day with almost 600 pedestrians crossing during peak hour (2015 data).

Richland Avenue passageway
Photo by Rich-Joseph Facun/Ohio University

The Richland Avenue Pedestrian Passageway Project will have a positive impact on bicycle, pedestrian, mass transportation, and vehicular travelers, and builds on the pedestrian improvements completed as part of the Oxbow Bridge Project (2013). The improvements include a grade separated passageway in the same general location as the existing at-grade crossing; a reconfiguration of existing sidewalks adjacent to Richland Avenue; a new bus stop pull-off on Richland Avenue; the installation of ample aesthetic passageway lighting; the installation of an aesthetic barrier along the left and right sides of Richland Avenue to protect pedestrians from vehicular traffic; and an intersection reconfiguration to allow traffic on Bobcat Lane to make left-hand turns onto Richland Avenue.

The passageway is an example of how the Athens and Ohio University communities are able to partner and leverage local resources with state and federal resources and complete a project that protects the health, safety, and welfare of the traveling public.

Richland Avenue passageway
Photo by Rich-Joseph Facun/Ohio University

The project would not have been possible without the support of the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the Transportation Alternatives Program funds of nearly $2 million. The City and Ohio University would also like to acknowledge the design of the project, completed by Burgess & Niple, and the contractor that devoted nine months to the project and brought the design to life – Rietschlin Construction, Incorporated.