Construction for third phase of river trail expansion under way

MARIETTA – Those who enjoy using Marietta’s River Trail will soon have more room to roam.

The third phase in what is planned to be a five-phase project has begun, according to Eric Lambert, project engineer for the City of Marietta.

Lambert said the third phase of the project will be adding 0.83 miles of 10-foot wide multi-use trail. The current trail is 2.31 miles and stretches from Indian Acres Park to the Fourth and Ohio streets.

The construction began on the third phase March 1 and the contract completion day is set for Aug. 31.

“The first phase of the trail was in 2005 and extended from Indian Acres all the way up to where the armory parking lot is,” said Lambert. “The second phase was in 2008 and extended the trail from that point to its current spot on the corner of Fourth and Ohio streets.”

This third phase of the trail is supposed to continue from the corner of Fourth and Ohio streets down along the river and then take a detour up Wayne Street, before taking a right onto East Eighth Street. Once it’s on East Eighth Street it will start heading back toward the river before ending at a parking lot near East Eighth and Jefferson streets, according to Lambert.

Shelly and Sands Inc. is completing the work.

The total cost for the third phase of the project is $1,151,222.10, with the costs being split between the Ohio Department of Transportation and the City of Marietta.

ODOT will be funding $920,977.68 of the total cost with the city chipping in $230,244.42.

Lambert said part of the money the city supplies will come from a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“The Recreational Trails Grant from ODNR will supply $134,736 of the city’s funding for this phase,” he said. “The remaining funds will be split between a Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Housing and Human Development (HUD) and from the Marietta Streets Department.”

The Community Development Block Grant will supply $33,684 for the project, with the remaining $61,824.42 coming from the streets department account meant for streets, highways, sidewalks and curbs, according to Lambert.

Wei Sheng, 52, a resident of the Hart Street condos, said he was a little worried about upkeep on the new portion of the trail.

“I hope they took flooding into consideration when planning, because a bad flood could completely ruin the path they are building,” said Sheng. “If the bank isn’t built up then part of it could get washed away as well.”

Lambert said the risk of potential flooding is one of the first things considered during planning.

“Right now they are working on building a retaining wall,” he said. “That will help support both the bank and the path in case of a potential flood.”

Ultimately Sheng said the construction of the path will likely be a boost for the city.

“If people are going to use it frequently, then the money was spent wisely and it was worth it,” he said.