BOSTON TWP.: Hikers and bikers will soon have a safer way to connect to the Brandywine Gorge portion of the popular Bike & Hike Trail in northern Summit County.
The final section of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Interstate 271 was placed by crane Tuesday. The concrete deck will be poured this week.
When finished, the bridge will connect the 33-mile trail with Brandywine Gorge, just off Brandywine Road at the Sagamore Hills-Boston Township border.
Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Justin Chesnic said 80 percent of the $2.6 million cost is funded through a federal grant.
Metro Parks, Serving Summit County is paying the remaining 20 percent.
Construction began last year, Chesnic said. Shelly and Sands Inc., headquartered in Zanesville, is doing the work.
A few bikers braved this week’s 90-degree heat to ride the trail, including Terrence Bowen of Akron.
Retired from the construction trade, Bowen said he rides the trail every couple of weeks. For now, he and other bicyclists must leave the trail just before the Brandywine Road bridge and share a narrow stretch of road with cars until picking up the trail again at the Brandywine Gorge Trail parking lot.
He said he is looking forward to being able to avoid the road.
“This is great,” Bowen said. “It gets [bicyclists and hikers] off the street. There is quite a bit of traffic.”
The project, which was slated to be completed in December, has faced several delays.
A major delay was announced in November when it was discovered that a contractor had used the wrong steel and the span had to be rebuilt.
Gina Mace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.