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Published: Thursday, 5/31/2012

ODOT gives $350,000 for Rossford footbridge

Grant 1 of several to target safe school routes

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A footbridge along Glenwood Road between two subdivisions and Indian Hills Elementary School is the key element in a $500,000 Safe Routes to School grant the Ohio Department of Transportation announced Wednesday for Rossford.

The footbridge between Elm Tree and Wales roads will relieve a dangerous situation where pedestrians compete with vehicles to cross Grassy Creek, city Administrator Ed Ciecka said.

The existing Glenwood bridge "is very narrow and doesn't have any pedestrian walkways," Mr. Ciecka said.

The footbridge is expected to cost about $350,000. The city must follow ODOT design and bidding procedures before construction can start, probably next year, he said.

The grant to Rossford was part of about $16 million in federal funds that ODOT has distributed for 68 projects statewide.

Other northwest Ohio Safe Routes to School grant winners this year include:

Port Clinton, which will get $460,000 to improve sidewalks, signs, pavement markings, and pedestrian signals near two of schools.

Erie County's Perkins Township, which will use a $460,000 grant to build sidewalks and "improved crossings" to serve Briar Middle School.

Vermilion, which will build sidewalks and, where approved through the state's "warrant" process, add traffic signals for $490,000.

Paulding, which received $500,000 for pedestrian improvements along four of its streets.

Antwerp, which received approval for a $187,000 pedestrian-access program.

Safe Routes to School is a federally funded program that provides grants to support the ability of elementary and middle-school students to walk or bike to school.

"Our aim is to help communities improve safety through engineering and education," ODOT Director Jerry Wray said in a statement. "We believe that Safe Routes to School grass-roots programs are the key to encouraging safer behaviors."

Mr. Ciecka said the Rossford project will be coordinated with the Wood County Engineer's office, which maintains the Glenwood bridge.

Although signs have been posted along Glenwood as an alternate route for traffic from the new Hollywood Casino Toledo to reach I-75, Mr. Ciecka said casino traffic was not included as a factor in Rossford's Safe Routes to School application.

The I-75 signs were put up to handle exceptional traffic anticipated during the first few weeks of operation for the casino, which opened Tuesday. Mr. Ciecka said by the time the footbridge is finished, little casino traffic, if any, is expected to use Glenwood.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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