Ohio University faculty and staff take core samples of the Hockhocking-Adena Bike Path in an effort to understand the underlying cause of the cracking.

Ohio University faculty and staff take core samples of the Hockhocking-Adena Bike Path in an effort to understand the underlying cause of the cracking on its surface.

Photographer: Rob Hardin/Russ College of Engineering

Robert Radloff rides his bike on the Hockhocking-Adena Bike Path.

Robert Radloff rides his bike on the Hockhocking-Adena Bike Path.

Photographer: Jasmine Beaubien/Ohio University

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University commits funding to repair Hockhocking-Adena Bike Path


Ohio University has committed funding and engineering expertise to repair the Hockhocking-Adena Bike Path. One section of paving was completed in 2012, and another study is underway by students and faculty within the Russ College of Engineering.

The study will determine the best solution to repair the Richland Avenue to Stimson Avenue section, which has multiple cracking within its pavement.

"The bike path is a really important asset for the University community and the community in general,” said Mark Whitney, project manager in the University’s Architecture, Design and Construction Department. “It’s part of the 21-mile bike path course that’s from Athens to Nelsonville and is highly used by the University community.”

In 2012, the University repaved the section from Hospital Drive to Richland Avenue, and an engineer from The Buckley Group was consulted in 2013 to determine the underlying cause of the cracking.

“The engineer surveyed the path, evaluated the conditions and gave us four options for repair,” said Whitney. “We took that report to the Russ College of Engineering and we’re trying to avail ourselves of their expertise and offer the engineering department an opportunity to get some real life classroom participation.”

Engineering faculty and students will inspect the way the bike path was constructed, evaluate the condition of the pavement base and subgrade and contrast the information with the recommendations which the engineering consultant provided the University. The research will help determine which of the four options is ideal, or determine if there are other more viable options.

Under the direction of Engineering Professor Shad Sargand and Stocker Engineering Center Laboratory Coordinator Issam Khoury, four-inch diameter core samples were taken from the bike path at various locations on Monday, Nov. 24, and will be used to conduct Dynamic Cone Penetrometer Tests. The information collected will be analyzed by students to provide information about the condition of the base and subgrade, as well as verify the thickness of the original bike path.  

In the winter, the bike path experiences bright, sunny days, which warm the asphalt faster than the ground beneath, Whitney said. The expansion and contraction happens quickly, which leads to cracking.

“About 15 years ago, there were similar transverse cracks on the bike path and in similar numbers, and you can see where each crack was cut out and repaved, but within a couple years they came back,” Whitney said. “We don’t want them to come back, we want to do better.”

The University maintains 7,858 linear feet of the 21-mile bike path, and construction on the second portion could start in Spring 2015, depending on the results of the study.

The Hockhocking-Adena Bike Path is often used by tourists visiting the region. “People from all over the state and other states visit the bike path as a tourist destination in Athens, so it adds to the community’s prestige,” Whitney said. “It looks great from the highway, has curb appeal, is a really nice asset and the University is active in finding quality recreational opportunities for everyone.”