Plans announced to close Olentangy Trail gap; construction expected to start in 2023

Jim Fischer
ThisWeek
Annie Lovegrove (third from left) walks the Olentangy Trail with her children Dean, 6; Shay, 7; and Neil, 10; and their dog, Bear. The city of Columbus announced plans to close the gaps in the trail with two bridges.

CORRECTION: The Olentangy Trail will cross North Broadway at a traffic signal. An earlier version of this story incorrectly described how it would intersect there.

The city of Columbus announced April 23 its plan to close the gap in the Olentangy Trail. 

The project will involve the construction of two bridges across the Olentangy River and 0.6 mile of new trail.  

Construction is expected to start in 2023. 

From the north, the trail will cross from Northmoor Park on the river’s east side, cross North Broadway at a traffic signal near the new exit from state Route 315 at the OhioHealth Riverside campus, continue adjacent to the OhioHealth and Kohl’s properties and cross back over the rover at Clinton-Como Park.

Easements will need to be acquired from several businesses along the route. 

The gap has long been an issue for cyclists and other users of the 14-mile, shared-use trail. The Olentangy Trail is the busiest trail in central Ohio with more than 1,000 bicycle and pedestrian trips a day, according to statistics provided by the city. 

The decision follows a lengthy design and public-input process undertaken by the city. 

“We thank everyone in the community who gave us thoughtful feedback and ideas,” Paul Rakosky, interim director of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, said in a statement. “This project is better because of those suggestions.” 

The project received $3.7 million in federal transportation funds through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. The remainder of the cost, estimated between $4.7 million and $6 million, will be picked up by the city. 

“The completion of the Olentangy Trail has been on the books since the 1970s so we are excited to finish the trail and improve east-west connections across the Olentangy River,” Rakosky said. “The city’s investment in the completion of the trail is another example of our commitment to providing Columbus residents with improved mobility options and access to healthy activities.” 

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