Program to improve road safety

Published 10:17 am Friday, March 18, 2011

Project slated to add 9,000 feet of guardrail

It’s chipping away at a long-term program to improve the safety of the county roadways.

That’s the goal of the upcoming guardrail construction project slated to be funded in 2015.

Targeted areas will be 4.3 miles of roadway on County Road 12, also known as Big Paddy Creek, where 8,075 feet of rail will be put up and 3.1 miles of roadway on County Road 18, or Solida Road, where 1,050 feet of guardrail will be installed.

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“If it is a flat area, where it is someone’s yard or an open field, it doesn’t require guardrail,” County Engineer Doug Cade said.

Those areas were among those that a study performed in 2003 concluded required guardrail.

“The study actually looked at the entire county and there is 668,000 feet of guardrail that is needed according to the Ohio Department of Transportation,” Cade said.

Right now there are 106,000 feet of railing up on county roads with 562,000 feet still needed according to current standards.

“Regulations also change from Congress to Congress, administration to administration,” Cade said. “As regulations change and funding becomes available, we try to make all the safety changes we can.”

Starting the project before 2015 is a possibility through the newly established Transportation Improvement District, designed to start projects ahead of a funding schedule.

A TID can enter into an agreement with an entity like ODOT that confirms that funding for a project will be available at a future date. However, a TID can go ahead and finance the project itself, by selling bonds or other means, and get the construction under way, even finishing it before the future funds are available. That can keep down construction costs that can escalate from inflation.

“This is something potentially we will look at for the TID,” Cade said. “We have to get plans prepared first and see where we are at the schedule. If we are six months away, then the TID wouldn’t be the mechanism to accelerate the project. We have to go through the process of designing plans. You have to develop plans just like you design a roadway or bridge.”

The project, which will be funded through the Cooperative Surface Transportation Program of the County Engineers Association of Ohio, is expected to cost $300,000.

“We do the best we can and try to focus on areas with the highest priority according to regulations,” he said.