Bridge over Ohio 129: Liberty Twp. to take closer look at options, cost

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The township says it must be pedestrian friendly for sustainability

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Construction of a bridge over Ohio 129, linking Liberty Center and Cincinnati Children’s Liberty campus, is taking another step forward, the main question now is will it be just for people or cars too.

Liberty Twp. trustees planned to approve a study Tuesday night that will take a closer look at the cost and potential funding sources for the bridge. The cost to study a pedestrian-only walkway is $14,650. A look into a bridge for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic is $24,850.

FIRST REPORT: Future of Liberty Twp. suburbia: Pedestrian walkways

Trustee Tom Farrell said he’ll have to see the results of the study to make a final decision, but at this point he is leaning toward a pedestrian-only bridge.

“My preference is a pedestrian bridge only because I want to focus on the pedestrian walkability in the township,” he said. “I believe the best way to move people in the suburb of the future is through pedestrian bridges and whenever you put a highway or a road close to the pedestrians you don’t have the same safety factor and functionality.”

Trustee Steve Schramm favors a bridge for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic because, he said it would ease congested traffic and connect the township’s business cores, which could spur more commercial development. Plus, he said, outside funding is available for such a structure.

“There’s state, county, other money available for road projects versus a pedestrian bridge, which would be us digging in our wallets or asking businesses to fund it,” Schramm said.

Trustee Christine Matacic said she needs more information before deciding which route the township should take. But because Cincinnati Dayton Road is land locked, other north-south routes for traffic to travel needs to be considered as the township grows.

“Having another alternative to get over (Ohio) 129 vehicular-wise might not be a bad idea,” she said. “I don’t want to inhibit our ability to not have that at this point.”

The trustees have maintained that creating a pedestrian-friendly community is not merely an amenity.

“According to all of the experts, in order to have a sustainable urban design, with walkability for health, environment and economic benefits, the experts in zoning are saying that the suburb of the future, in order to be sustainable, must have these features,” Liberty Twp. Trustee Tom Farrell previously said. “They must have these features because not only do the Baby Boomers want them but the Millenials and everyone in between.”