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I-70 construction closes pedestrian river crossing forcing long alternative routes


Those wishing to walk to or from downtown Zanesville now have one less option as the Interstate 70 reconstruction project has closed the pedestrian crossing over the Muskingum River I-70 Bridge, likely for the foreseeable future.

The closure adds a roughly 30-minute walking detour, forcing pedestrians to either take the Y-Bridge or the Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternative route.

As part of ODOT’s 88-million-dollar Interstate 70 reconstruction project, crews are working on repairing I-70 through Zanesville, making fixes to the 50-plus-year-old roadways and bridges that make up the interstate through town.

Now two full years into the project, which started with the innermost lanes, work has shifted to the southern outermost lane that takes vehicular traffic eastwardly through down.

To make that possible, a temporary eastbound express lane was added on the westbound side, freeing up space on the eastbound side for work to begin on the outermost portion.

Unfortunately for many pedestrians, that is also the side where the sidewalk is located to cross the Muskingum River off of Linden Avenue.

Since when the bridge was originally placed in the ’60s only one side had a sidewalk installed, the only alternative path is to cross at either the Y-Bridge or the Veterans Memorial Bridge. Both options add an almost 30-minute detour for walkers.

While many individuals have reached out saying they are upset about the closure, which will likely last until the Fall of 2025, when work is complete on that particular portion of reconstruction, it was likely inevitable.

Some portions of the sidewalk could already be seen missing as crews have wasted no time in getting started on this section of the project.

ODOT previously faced criticism from local residents earlier in the project when they closed the State Street Bridge for demolition, essentially adding long walking detours while it was rebuilt from the ground up.

When that bridge was reopened many expressed concern that the sidewalks were very narrow, making it unsafe for walking school children and the disabled.

One parent wrote that it wasn’t even wide enough for her two children, who walk to school, to cross side-by-side.

While that was the width of the original sidewalk, many questioned why wealthy communities around the state get additional pedestrian amenities from ODOT, such as safer, wider sidewalks, and Zanesville doesn’t, citing a common belief by local residents that the project is being done as cheap as possible and without forward-thinking plans for future development, such as forthcoming housing that will increase foot traffic.

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