A series of safety upgrades along Croft Road in Clark County are planned to make the roadway shareable and safer for bikers and pedestrians.
Improvements to areas associated with bike paths is not only a benefit for riders but also a tourism tool for the area, parks leaders said.
The Ohio Department of Transportation, along with the Clark County Engineer’s Office, submitted proposals for ways the roadway can be updated to make it safer for users like walkers and bikers.
The project would widen the roadways between Ohio 4 and the Buck Creek Multi-use Trail that crosses Croft Road about a mile east of the roadway. The bike lanes would be between 5- and 8-feet wide, with a 5-foot shoulder for extra space.
Croft Road would also be widened east of the Buck Creek Trail with 6-foot shoulders and a 12-foot center turn lane would be added at the intersection with Robert Eastman Drive, according to the plans.
Construction would last roughly six months, according to ODOT engineers. Croft Road between Robert Eastman Drive and Columbus Avenue would be closed during construction, but restricted-lane traffic could drive from Ohio 4 to Robert Eastman Drive in both directions.
The plans for Croft Road are still under ODOT and county review and are expected to be finalized by the fall, with construction slates for sometime in 2018, according to the ODOT project description.
Bruce Vincent was at Beatty Station south of Springfield last week as he prepared to ride to Yellow Springs. He prefers to ride on areas with designated paths and lanes because they’re safer.
“It’s tough to navigate where there aren’t always bike paths or a (bike) lane,” he said.
The Buck Creek Trail is maintained by the National Trail Parks and Recreation District.
Easier access to cycling trails is a way Springfield and Clark County can market itself to out-of-town riders, NTPRD Deputy Director Brad Boyer said.
“The tourism dollars that cyclists bring in to a community are real and it can be a huge impact to the local economy,” he said.
Trail-use studies have shown on average nearly 1,000 people use the multi-use Buck Creek Trail daily, he said.
“Hopefully it encourages more people to come and helps spread the word that this is a great trail system that we have,” he said of the upgrades near the trail.