The long process of building a bridge over Raccoon Creek in Johnstown is one step closer to completion after Johnstown Village Council on July 15 approved $40,000 to be used in acquiring the right of way for the project.
The bridge, which will run parallel to U.S. Route 62 over Raccoon Creek, near Whit's Frozen Custard, is a joint effort with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the village, and was estimated to cost more than $500,000 in May.
In the split with ODOT, Johnstown will pay about $200,000, and ODOT will finance about $330,000. Funds from Johnstown were budgeted via the village's capital-improvements fund.
Village Manager Jim Lenner said the acquisition for the right of way isn't a huge matter but is an important step.
"We're not taking houses or anything," he said. "There's just some property we need to acquire."
Lenner said the project has been in the works since 2007 or 2008 and that when he took over, it became more urgent.
"ODOT contacted me and said, 'If you don't build it, the funds are going away because it's been so long,' " he said.
When completed, Lenner said, the bridge will provide an important walkway in a heavy-traffic area. Those traveling from the residential parts of the village to the east will have a much easier path to retail and other development to the west, he said.
"The important thing is, it gets people over the bridge and helps connect people safely from the residential area to the town," he said.
In May, ODOT officials requested public comments on the bridge but received little or no communication, according to ODOT officials.
The bridge will be adjacent to Route 62, and a 10-foot multiuse path will be built from Westview Drive to Bigelow Drive to provide access to the bridge. Construction should begin in 2015.