Hamilton to launch complicated project to extend Miami to Miami trail

Hamilton and MetroParks of Butler County have teamed to build biking/walking trails that eventually will link the Great Miami bikeway with the Little Miami River Scenic Trail.

Building of that trail in and near Gilmore Park is to start next March, with construction to finish by the following November.

It’s not just trail work. Instead, it involves relocation of sewer lines to areas where they have less potential to pollute pristine swamplands. The project also will help deflect 1/14th of all the storm water that leaks into the city’s sewer system and is unnecessarily treated as sewage, Allen Messer, senior civil engineer for the city, recently told Hamilton City Council.

The project “is actually four projects in one,” Messer said. “There are two trail projects ant two utility projects that we’re kind of lumping together as a single effort.”

The proposed Miami to Miami trail will be about 17 miles long and connect two of the biggest regional trails.

Kelly Barkley, spokeswoman for the MetroParks, said her organization is delighted about the trail.

“It’ll bring a lot of great public traffic to that area, lots of families being able to visit,” Barkley said. “It’ll make it more accessible.”

“It’s a wonderful birding area,” with heron, eagles, owls and many others, Barkley said. Yet many people don’t know about the park because it’s surrounded by industrial areas.

Hamilton’s stretch is 0.72 miles long, from Gilmore Road to Bilstein Boulevard. The MetroParks segment is 0.84 miles long, from Bilstein Boulevard to the Ohio 4 Bypass.

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“We’re looking to start construction on it next March (2022), and finish next November (2022),” Messer said. The Hamilton part is estimated to cost $750,000, while the MetroParks piece has an estimated cost of $1.36 million. The MetroParks segment has a higher cost because more bridges must be built there, Messer said.

The city and parks system separately received grant money. “But then, to make it more efficient, construction-wise, we’re bidding them as one, and aligned our schedules,” Messer said.

There are 5,800 feet of 24-inch-wide sanitary sewers in the area, and work on that should begin this June to get that work out of the way before the trail construction starts. Those sewers, which convey sewage from toilets and sinks, are about 20 feet deep. Because of that and other factors, that sewer work may cost $3 million.

A natural-gas main project involves 3,300 feet of 12-inch-wide plastic gas mains. That work and the sewer project will be bid out together so a single contractor rather than two will handle the work. The gas-main work should start in July and end by March, with an estimated cost of $575,000.

“You can imagine the environmental risk if this were ever to surcharge and overflow into what’s one of the highest-quality wetland areas in this part of the state,” Messer said.

The sewer work will bring cost savings over time, because city utility officials believe about 7 percent of all the storm water leaking into sanitary sewers that goes to the city’s sewage treatment plant comes from this project area, Messer said. That is water that unnecessarily is being treated.

“Because this is such a high quality — we’re talking top 1 percent of wetlands in the state — there are a lot of restrictions” on the construction Messer said.

The projects received $1.26 million in grants through the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments; a $350,000 state capital grant to Metroparks; a $1.4 million Ohio Public Works Commission loan for the sewer work; and money to be requested from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the trail itself.

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