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ODOT celebrates new Vandalia bikeway, kicks off 2024 construction season

two men ride bikes on a newly paved bike path. the men where bright yellow reflective clothing.
Renee Wilde
Ron Johnson of the Dayton Cycling Club (L) and Chuck Smith with the Ohio Biking Federation enjoy a morning on the Great Miami Trail.

The 2024 road construction season has arrived.

At an event Thursday at the Taylorsville MetroPark, ODOT held a kickoff event and highlighted a $3.3 million dollar project with the city of Vandalia and Five Rivers MetroParks. The project will allow bikers and pedestrians safer access between the city and the Great Miami River Trail.

“We strongly believe that this will be a transformational project for our city."

The project is expected to begin construction this summer, and when finished the new bikeway will connect the city of Vandalia to a network of over 350 miles of paved trails.

“I used this trail everyday on my commute back from work at Wright Patterson Air Force Base," said Chuck Smith, chair of the Ohio Bicycle Federation. "I would commute to Vandalia, so I had to carry my bike across the CSX tracks about a mile up the road."

The new path will include a bridge that spans those railroad tracks, connecting the existing bikeway in Vandalia along National Road at Foley Drive to the Great Miami River Trail at Taylorsville MetroPark near Taylorsville Dam.

The project also includes bike lanes on U.S. Route 40 between Foley Drive and Brown School Road and a two-way cycle track on the east side of Brown School Road. from U.S. 40 to Cassel Creek Drive.

Rob Cron, assistant city manager for the city of Vandalia, said this aligns with the city's goal to be a more bicycle friendly community.

“We strongly believe that this will be a transformational project for our city, giving our residents a way to bike and make a connection to this trail and also giving users of this trail a way to get into our city and see what we have to offer,” Cron said.

A sign gives direction at the start of a paved bike path through the woods.
Renee Wilde
When completed the bike path with connect Vandalia with over 350 miles of paved trails.

Safe driving urged as accidents climb

ODOT officials used the event to urge drivers to be more aware when in construction zones.

In the lead up to the event, there had already been 43 accidents involving motorists and construction crews this year.

As officials spoke, that number rose to 44.

“Last year we had 56 hits so as you can see, we are way ahead of last year's schedule. Which is a bad thing. We need everyone’s help to keep them safe by putting down the distractions and obeying the speed limits,” Bud O’Brien, deputy director of transportation, said.

ODOT is spending $2.8 billion on road and bridge improvements across the state, with over 220 projects going on in the Southwest region that once complete, will help significantly reduce traffic congestion and improve roadway safety.

Some of the bigger projects throughout southwest Ohio include:

  • Continuing the work on the 1-75 corridor through the Dayton and CIncinnati areas
  • Bridge replacements over I-75 north of State Route 67 in Auglaize County
  • Rehabilitation of the mainline bridges on State Route 562 over Paddock Road and Reading/Tennessee Avenue in Hamilton
  • Constructing new ramps at the Kennedy Avenue interchange along I-71 in Hamilton County
  • Continued construction of the interchange at U.S. 35 and Valley/Trebein Road in Greene County
  • Construction of the Glen Este Withamsville overpass along State Route 32 in Clermont County
  • Continued Construction at the interchange of U.S. 35 and Woodman Drive in Montgomery County
  • Adding pedestrian safety improvements to State Route 725 between Byers Road and State Route 741 in Montgomery County
  • Widening State Route 63 between Union Road at Monroe and State Route 741 in Warren County
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Renee Wilde is an award-winning independent public radio producer, podcast host, and hobby farmer living in the hinterlands of southwestern Ohio.