|Bike Path Update
|Monday, January 31, 2011 8:33:44 AM - Middletown Ohio
From Judy Gilleland
The Federal Grants have many moving parts. See the following info regarding timelines that we
are attempting to meet: Per the terms of the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant
(EECBG), the funds must be” committed” by April 19, 2011 (18 months from the date of the
grant). However, we have until October of 2012 to spend the money. The process to get the
engineering drawings approved for construction has been hindered by lengthy delays and
additional environmental hurdles. We were notified earlier this month that the US Fish &
Wildlife Service has approved the tree clearing as long as the work occurs between September
30 and April 1. This requires that the contract would need to be awarded at the February 15th
City Council Meeting to allow for contract execution and initial clearing prior to April 1, 2011.
Otherwise, the project will have to be delayed until fall after September 30. The project is
currently out for bid with an opening date of February 4, 2011.
We are still waiting on the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to review and respond
to our environmental clearance submittals so we can finalize the formal Categorical Exclusion
(CE) Level 1 Report. In addition, the final version of the plans has been forwarded to ODOT for
the right of way permit. Once the CE Report is approved, it would be combined with the right
of way permit and sent to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for approval since this is
Limited Access Right of Way. ODOT has agreed to inspect the bike path corridor for
environmental impacts and has indicated that approvals should be in place, barring any new
concern, by March 1, 2011 so the clearing can be completed prior to April 1, 2011.
According to the Department of Energy, the 18 month window to have the funds “committed”
was a legal mandate and is not likely to be extended, so we continue to push for the ODOT
approvals concurrent with bidding the project so we meet the grant deadline. However, we
cannot allow the contractor to proceed until all clearances are obtained from ODOT and FHWA.
The grant timeline since approval is as follows:
• October 2009 Grant approved, engineering design contract awarded
• December 2009 Initial plans submitted to ODOT for review
• March 2010 Inquired about status of initial plan submittal to ODOT
• May 2010 Discussed environmental clearance requirements with ODOT
• August 2010 ODOT required CE Level 1 Report
• October 2010 Contract awarded to conduct CE Level 1 Report
• December 2010 Initial CE Report submitted to ODOT
ODOT provide comments on initial plans.
• January 2011 ODOT informed City of add’l approvals & CE Report requirements
Project out for bid pending ODOT approvals