Kettering OKs additional money for bridge projects with artwork

Kettering city officials have approved additional funding for two bridge replacement projects that will include public art installations and have a combined cost of more than $5 million.

Kettering will replace the Ridgeway Road Bridge. The new version 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.

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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.

Mayor Don Patterson explained the budgeting for the arts components, saying, “One percent a year is taken out of capital improvements, (and) set aside for the arts. That money is set aside for art projects. This isn’t money that is set aside for roadway or set aside for capital improvements, etc.”

The city began pursuing grant funding for the reconstruction of the Ridgeway bridge in late 2017. More than 70 percent of respondents to a survey about the bridge indicated that they wanted the bridge replaced for all modes of traffic.

A public meeting regarding the project will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 4 at the Kettering Fairmont High School Recital Hall, 3301 Shroyer Road.

According to Kettering Assistant City Manager Steve Bergstresser, the current estimated cost to replace the bridge, including engineering design and right-of-way costs, is $2,675,000. The public art component of the project has been budgeted at $350,000, for a total estimated project cost of $3,025,000.

Construction is currently scheduled to begin in late 2020 or early 2021, when the municipal bridge funds are available from ODOT.

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The city also is spending $350,000 for a public art installation as part of reconstruction of the Schantz Avenue bridge. Vicki Scuri of Lake Forest Park, Wash., earned the selection as the artist from 94 artist submissions from around the world.

The overall project will include replacement of the bridge, work on the retaining wall along northbound South Dixie Drive, a barrier wall and a vandal fence.

Council has received a low bid for the bridge replacement and retaining wall rehab for $2,287,395. A federal grant of $1,298,000 will reduce the city’s share for the bridge replacement and retaining wall rehab to $989,395.

At a recent meeting, council approved $290,000 in funding for the Schantz and Ridgeway art projects.

Bergstresser explained that the funding includes $70,000 for the Schantz bridge art project so that the screens, tower and lighting components of the art project can be completed.

“The amount also includes $220,000 in order to encumber the artist contract for the upcoming Ridgeway bridge art project,” Bergstresser said.

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