Kettering approves additional funding for Ridgeway bridge project

Kettering city officials are committing an extra $65,000 to the replacement of a Ridgeway Road bridge that will include a public art component.

The nearly 54-year-old Ridgeway Road bridge is in need of replacement because of wear and tear over the years, according to the city. The bridge crosses Dorothy Lane between Far Hills Avenue and Southern Boulevard.

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Traffic count numbers from May 2017 indicate about 900 vehicles cross the Ridgeway Road Bridge each day.

The replacement bridge will be similar to the existing bridge, capable of carrying vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. It will also include a public art component installed as part of the CitySites program.

The design consultant for the bridge replacement project revised the construction cost estimate, now approximately $2,800,000 (including a 15 percent contingency). That is $400,000 greater than the earlier estimate.

Council passed a resolution authorizing the additional $65,000 for engineering design services.

“The additional expenditure reflects the design consultant’s cost to incorporate the proposed public art project in correlation with the bridge. Various aesthetic enhancements to the bridge and other engineering design modifications that will be included in the construction plans,” Assistant City Manager Steve Bergstresser told city council members.

He added that the public art project for the Ridgeway project is moving along on schedule.

“We should have more information to share with the public in a few weeks,” Bergstresser said.

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The additional funds approved for the project were for engineering design work related to the public art project, as well as engineering work unrelated to the public art project, he said.

The Ridgeway project was selected for funding under the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Municipal Bridge Program. ODOT will fund 95 percent of the construction cost to replace the bridge, up to $2 million.

The city also will replace the Schantz Avenue Bridge over South Dixie Highway and include an art installation there, too.

Over the last several months city officials have been working closely with the engineering design consultant and the artist to develop an artwork concept for the bridge.

The artist made a presentation to the Art in Public Places (AIPP) Committee on July 25, which also included members of the neighborhood stakeholders for the project.

The proposed artwork and overall project concepts were very well received by the AIPP Committee, with many compliments and overall satisfaction with how the design has evolved according to Bergstresser. The only significant concern that was expressed was the level at which the artwork will be illuminated at night and to ensure that it is not too bright.

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“As we move into the final design phase, we will certainly keep this concern in mind when designing the accent lighting for the artwork,” he said.

Division Manager of Cultural Arts Shayna McConville says that the California-based Cliff Garten Studio was selected to create the permanent design for the public art component for the Ridgeway project.

McConnville said that the idea is to have this be a lasting, permanent project for more than 75 years, so the city was fortunate to find an artist studio with international acclaim to take on the project.

Garten has received Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bush Foundation Fellowship for Individual Artists, the Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship, and the Jerome Foundation Travelling Artist Grant.

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