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Published: Thursday, 1/29/2004

Maumee: Rt. 24 bike bridge funding needed

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Additional grants are being sought to help pay for the construction of the Fallen Timbers/Wabash Cannonball Bridge for bicyclists and hikers over U.S. 24, Maumee officials learned from a Metroparks representative.

James Speck, director of planning and construction for the Metroparks District of the Toledo Area, said the project could be delayed or abandoned if the funding cannot be obtained.

“The bridge project is not a sure thing because of the funding and design issues,” he said.

Design issues, he said, center on “crossing a federal highway.” There are a lot of restrictions because of U.S. 24, he said, and it might not be possible to address all of the design issues.

U.S. 24 would have to close for a brief time while the bridge is set, he said, but that could be scheduled at night when traffic volume is at its lowest level.

The cost remains an issue. So far the Metroparks has secured $811,650 through grants and fund-raising efforts. Estimated cost for the bridge is $1,176,000.

Funds have come in from the Transportation Enhancement fund for $451,650; Clean Ohio Trails Fund Grant of $320,000; 75th Anniversary promotion $20,000; and the 2003 gala event for $20,000, according to figures from Mr. Speck.

The pedestrian and bicycle bridge over U.S. 24 will connect the Fallen Timbers State Monument with the Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site. It will be a link in the Toledo area s regional bikeways system.

On the monument side, a trail will extend to River Road in Sidecut Metropark, while on the battlefield side, one will extend to the Wabash Cannonball Heritage Trail. The pathways leading to the span will add up to about two miles, and will be landscaped.

Because the bridge would have a regional benefit, the Metroparks doesn t want to depend solely on its own funding to pay for it, he said. “We will be looking for additional grants,” he said. If the bridge is built, it would link the Wabash Cannonball Trail across U.S. 24 to the River Road corridor, including the Maumee and Perrysburg areas, he said.

Maumee Mayor Tim Wagener asked if it would be possible to build a covered bridge. Mr. Speck said it would tack on $150,000 to the price tag.



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