A popular stretch of the Olentangy Trail will close again as work on the interchange at Interstate 270 and state Route 315 continues.
On Aug. 1, the Ohio Department of Transportation will close a portion of the trail that passes beneath I-270 between Olentangy River Parklands, 600 W. Wilson Bridge Road in Worthington, and Worthington Hills Park, 7740 Olentangy River Road in Worthington, for at least three months.
Cyclists and walkers will need to use an alternate route that goes west on Wilson Bridge Road and north on Linworth Road to Worthington Hills Park.
The closure is part of ODOT's massive North Side Mega Fix project for the I-270 interchanges at Route 315 and U.S. Route 23.
The same stretch of the trail was closed from August 2015 to December 2016 when work on the 315 portion of the project began in earnest.
At the time, ODOT had engineer Janice Gartner head up the process of identifying the alternate route for cyclists. She reportedly rode the route herself, setting up a series of detour signs and new lights to help riders.
Although the new direction is functional, it's not for beginners.
ODOT District 6 spokeswoman Breanna Badanes said she hopes cyclists will remember not to be overly adventurous with the alternative route.
"The important thing is that the alternate route is for experienced cyclists only," she said. "So among those cyclists that we did hear from, I think it was an OK alternative. But we wouldn't want casual users or maybe families who have strollers or kids on bikes using this alternate route.
"If it were my family, I wouldn't want them on that route."
Dublin resident Doug Cochran is a frequent user of the trail and trains for marathons on it.
Since the construction began in 2015, he said, he's been turning back before he hits I-270, but he doesn't blame ODOT for the closure.
"I am a big fan of the trail, and I don't find the inconvenience too big of a problem," he said. "We are lucky to have such a nice trail available even in the present state of repair. I haven't used the detour at all, mostly because there is plenty of trail to run going south from Antrim Park or Wilson Bridge Road."
He said he does appreciate when it's possible to go under the freeway when it's available.
"When training with some friends for the Columbus Marathon a few years ago, it was very convenient to start at Worthington Hills Park and run as far south and then back as needed to get whatever training mileage was needed in our training schedule," he said.
According to ODOT, the trail closure represents one of the final "pieces of the puzzle" for completion of the project. The trail is expected to be closed for at least three months, an estimate that is largely dependent on weather.
For more information, visit dot.state.oh.us.