Symmes Township trustee criticizes engineer#8217;s office

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SYMMES TOWNSHIP — Symmes Township trustee Cecil Mays says it’s big enough to sit in.

And sometimes it fills up with water, but this is no bathtub. It’s a pothole in the middle of County Road 210 and Mays says there are lots of holes all over that road and others that make traveling difficult at best for Symmes residents.

“It seems like this end of the county gets left out of the picture and we can’t get anything done,” Mays said. “We’ve got potholes in some places that are 14-18 inches across and 6-13 inches deep.”

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Lawrence County Engineer David Lynd said Symmes is in the same boat with other townships and that his office is making efforts to take care of some road problems before bad weather sets in.

“We’re trying to chip and seal right now. We have 100 miles of chip and seal surface and we try to chip and seal roads every other year,” said Lynd, who said County Road 210 is a chip and seal road. “We’re working right now in the eastern part of the county.”

Mays said he and the two other Symmes trustees, Ronnie Hatfield and Fayne Taylor, have written letters and made

visits to Lynd’s office, asking when the potholes will be fixed and general maintenance performed on Symmes roads, but have never gotten an answer.

They have even written letters to the Lawrence County Commission, but since commissioners are elected officeholders, as Lynd is, they have no authority to tell him what to do.

“The thing that bothers me most is, what if an emergency vehicle had to get up these roads quickly? They would have a hard time doing it with the potholes,” Mays said. “And school buses travel these roads, too.”

A little further away on Township Road 232, folks now drive their cars across a four-foot culvert where a wooden bridge once was. The bridge was damaged, Mays explained, and the engineer’s office replaced the eight-foot span with the culvert.

But Mays said this switch presents a problem: runoff from an old mine site empties into the creek and will eventually destroy the metal culvert.

He fears the culvert is also not big enough to handle heavy rains and if the water gets high enough, it will wash out the gravel on top of it. And another thing: a bridge crossing a township road is the engineer’s problem; a culvert, once installed, is the township’s problem. Mays said that means when the acid runoff eats the culvert, he, Hatfield and Taylor will have to use their small township budget to replace it.

“We’ve been replacing all of our metal culverts with plastic. We don’t even install the metal ones anymore,” Mays said.

Lynd said the reason the reason the culvert to put in was because it is more economical to install and maintain and will have a longer life expectancy than the bridge that was replaced.

“Maintenance is much easier. If you have a flood, and it washes away the gravel you take in another load of gravel and the road is ready to use,” Lynd said. “If a bridge gets washed out you have to rebuild it.”

Lynd said he sympathizes with trustees and their budget issues, but indicated he also has a budget he was work with and does the best with what he has.