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Commissioners want bypass update

Concerned about another Chesapeake Bypass delay, county commissioners requested a state update Thursday of the long-awaited project.

Friday, August 03, 2001

Concerned about another Chesapeake Bypass delay, county commissioners requested a state update Thursday of the long-awaited project.

"I want to move to request information on where we stand on purchase of right of way on the bypass," commissioner George Patterson said.

The motion seeks a report from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The Chesapeake Bypass proposes construction of a four-lane, divided highway to relocate Ohio 7 in Union and Rome Townships in Lawrence County. The proposed route will move traffic from the existing Ohio 7 to the northernmost border of the area, eventually connecting from the Ohio 527 interchange in the west to Ohio 7 in the east.

Commissioners received word that ODOT is contracting the property acquisition phase of the bypass because of low staffing levels, and the state has not made any offers to the single largest property owner affected by the project, they said.

"Last time, the delay was because the property wasn’t bought," Patterson said, adding he would like assurances that the project is moving forward.

"Our real estate department is currently working on right of way acquisition for Phase 1A, and the final plans for the project are due from the consultant, RD Zande & Associates, soon," ODOT spokesperson Kathleen Fuller said Thursday, adding that appraisers are currently working in the field.

"Our goal is to have everything in place by the end of the year so that this project can be sold next spring and construction of Phase 1A can begin shortly thereafter," she said.

On June 21, the "record of decision" for the bypass was issued by the Federal Highway Administration – in other words, the documents required before the bypass design can become final have been approved.

The project has been outlined in three phases, with Phase 1 the purchase of the right of way for the entire project and constructing the Ohio 607 connector from the 31st Street Bridge to the proposed new Ohio 7.

The first portion – Phase 1A – is scheduled to sell in the spring of 2002, and construction of a two-lane bypass around Proctorville is estimated to take from one to two years to complete. The remainder of the Phase 1 project is then to be sold in 2003.

While total cost of the project is estimated at just more than $155 million, the cost of Phase 1 is about $46 million.

In other action Thursday, commissioners:

– Signed a contract with the CAO for oversight of the Athalia Tire Pile cleanup. Special projects director Doug Cade said a letter is need from the EPA, then seeking contractors and other cleanup work can commence. It’s anticipated cleanup can be completed by September.

– Passed on a request from Sheriff Tim Sexton that the county pay for security door repairs. Commissioners did not favor payment from county funds but will ask about using the jail’s "pay for stay" funds, they said.

– Approved and signed a right of way permit for Duke Energy to enter County Road 1A.

– Decided to seek information from fuel companies about bulk fuel for the sheriff’s department, after reviewing specifications on an above ground tank from Sheriff Sexton.