• Location: Athens, Ohio

In the heart of Ohio University, vehicular traffic congestion was a growing problem near a busy at-grade pedestrian crossing. Traffic on Richland Avenue would experience lengthy delays at the crosswalk between West Green Drive and Bobcat Lane as students crossed between classes. This main principal arterial road would see an average of 9,800 vehicles and 6,500 students per day.  

Congestion caused such significant delays, that the vehicular traffic would back up through campus and into the city. The City of Athens sought the help of B&N to find a solution to eliminate traffic congestion while providing a safe pedestrian crossing.   

B&N designed a solution that involved raising the profile of Richland Avenue to provide a new pedestrian passageway below. Our design team established a feasible roadway profile and vertical passageway clearance above, while meeting ADA requirements and avoiding numerous utilities below, including a fiber optic line and a major university steam line tunnel. To avoid anticipated ground settlement and associated utility damage due to the additional embankment dead load, the plans included alternative soil improvement items such as rammed aggregate piers and Elastizell.    

The B&N team studied and matched the exterior passageway aesthetics to mimic the Georgian architectural style throughout campus including the adjacent James and Sargent Hall buildings. The final project also included programmable aesthetic LED lighting inside the passageway, bench seating, aesthetic light posts, and landscape architecture for the adjacent embankment slopes.  

The completed Richland Avenue pedestrian passageway also improved multi-modal traffic mobility for the public with reconfigured sidewalks adjacent to Richland Avenue, the extension of existing shared bike lanes and a crash tested barrier from the Oxford Bridge to the north, new bike racks, and a new bus stop pull-off facility. Before the passageway, movement from Bobcat Lane was limited to right turns only. B&N reconfigured the intersection to allow for left or right turns on to Richland Avenue, helping the mobility of vehicular traffic from Bobcat Lane.  

Honors & Awards 

The Central Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE) presented the project with the Project of the Year Award for the under $5 Million Construction Cost category.