A closed tunnel is confounding pedestrians and cyclists as Powell officials work to reopen the key connection.

The city in mid-February blocked off a multiuse path where it tunnels under the CSX railroad tracks just northwest of Adventure Park. The tunnel allows access to the park from west of the tracks and a path to Sawmill Parkway from east of the tracks.

Powell spokeswoman Megan Canavan said city officials closed off the route after determining the condition of the tunnel posed a safety risk to pedestrians.

"The concrete is chipping and falling off the top of the tunnel," she said.

Canavan said city and CSX officials must work together to determine how to fix the tunnel before moving forward. She said she could not predict when a viable path forward would be reached.

"It is still closed indefinitely," she said. "The city is working with CSX but there is not a definitive time frame."

Some residents have taken to social media to point out the heavy use of the tunnel and question when it would reopen.

Powell Mayor Brian Lorenz attempted to allay concerns, responding on one Facebook thread that the city has obtained a report on the tunnel's condition from a structural engineer and passed it on to CSX.

Lorenz said the city will wait for a response and hope CSX will partner with the city on a solution.

In the meantime, Canavan said, residents should not attempt to forge their own path across the tracks.

"They need to cross via safe crosswalks," she said.

East-west sidewalks cross the tracks north and south of Olentangy Street south of Adventure Park. A trail crosses the tracks north of the park on the north side of Seldom Seen Road.

Canavan said city officials view the tunnel as a key part of the city's bike path system because of its proximity to the park.

"Adventure Park is a heavily used park," she said.

The tunnel's closure occurred amid ongoing talks between city and CSX officials about another way to traverse the railroad tracks.

City officials have wanted to add a pedestrian crossing near Library Park for years and intended to construct one as part of the Murphy Parkway extension project. While the city opened the road's extension to Liberty Street in the fall, CSX has not yet approved plans for a new crossing.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

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