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Federal money to help pay for road slips

Lawrence County is getting a little help from Uncle Sam in repairing some of its roadways damaged by hillside slips.

Cecil Townsend, Ohio Department of Transportation's Lawrence County Garage Transportation Administrator, said approximately $20 million in U.S. Highway Administration monies will be used to repair 20 slips on county roadways deemed eligible for the federal dollars.

While federal monies will not cover the cost of all the slips in Lawrence County that ODOT must contend with, every dollar counts, especially considering the enormity of the problem. Townsend said his crews have more than 80 slips to repair, some large, some small.

"Every state route we have in this county has a slip or a slide on it somewhere, except for State Route 607, the new bypass at Proctorville," Townsend said.

The first slip to be repaired with federal monies is on State Route 243 at the 16-mile marker near Bradrick.

Townsend said that the ground underneath approximately 900 feet of pavement is giving away, moving all too quickly toward Symmes Creek.

Another federally funded project will be the relocation of approximately 2,000 feet of State Route 217 at the 2.97 mile marker.

"There is one large slip affecting the whole road," Townsend said. We're going to go in and take out a curve and do some road straightening when we repair the slip."

One home is being moved to make way for the relocation.

Two slips affecting State Route 7 in the village of Chesapeake between North Huntington Heights and State Route 243 will also get federally funded attention.

The feds will pay 100 percent of the cost of slip repairs on federally eligible roadways through mid-June. After that, Uncle Sam will pick up 80 percent of the cost of such road repairs.

Road crews will try to maintain traffic in construction areas while the work is being done, but he cannot make any guarantees.

Townsend said he will ask ODOT state officials for money to install safety features on State Route 93 when he attends an upcoming ODOT meeting in Muskingham County. On the list of hoped-for improvements is a turn lane on State Route 93 at Porter Gap Road and truck lanes on inclines at various places along the roadway.

Meanwhile, the Lawrence County Commission Thursday agreed to officially support a request to name the new Ironton-Russell Bridge in honor of the city's founder, John Campbell. The suggestion was first promoted by the Lawrence County Historical Society two years ago but local leaders have yet to get a response to their suggestion.

"I talked about this with the historical society on Tuesday and I think we need to send a second letter," historical society member Dave Milem said.