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Federal funds to repair roadway slips

At least two roadway slips in the county will get fixed without using any county funds.

Lawrence County Commissioners voted at their Thursday meeting to authorize County Engineer Doug Cade to be the agent to coordinate the funding of repair projects on County Road 4 and County Road 15 between the county and Ohio Department of Transportation.

The money will come from the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Fund and is expected to cover the entire $800,000 price tag — $500,000 for County Road 4 and $300,000 for County Road 15.

“We have 180 days to get the work complete,” Cade told Commissioners Bill Pratt, Paul Herrell and Les Boggs.

The slips are only two of more than 100 that hit county roads after the massive rains in mid-May.

“We still have over 200 complaints we still are working on,” Cade said. “We are trying to knock them out as best we can.”

Temporary repairs are being looked at while funding avenues for permanent fixes are sought.

Right now the estimate to repair slips and bridges comes in at $5.8 million, Cade said. That does not include roadway damage such as berms being washed away.

“We are doing the best we can,” he said.

Commissioners also approved studying a request from the engineer to use Community Development Block Grant money for asphalt resurfacing of County Road 1 in Burlington and County Road 14 or Waterloo-Mt Vernon Road.

“This will help finish paving and keep them in better shape,” he said.

Paving costs for the approximately 1-mile stretch on each road is about $135,000 for the Burlington roadway and $162,000 for County Road 14 section.

Right now all 380 miles of county roadways have been videotaped by the engineer’s office using a video camera mounted on a truck.

“This will help us with damage assessment,” Cade said. “And not only for damage but when we do paving next year.”

In the past roads were paved on an 11-year rotation. However, with the new videotaping, Cade said he expects to choose which roads with more precision.

“If we can stretch it a year for some and some may need paving sooner,” he said.

County EMS Director Buddy Fry reported that the two new ambulances the service recently purchased were put into operation immediately upon arrival, even though they are without permanent radios. Right now they are carrying portable radios.

“If we didn’t have the new trucks, we would have to shut down some of the stations,” Fry said.

Boggs reported that the commissioners have requested a meeting with State Auditor Dave Yost on getting the $301,000 that a state audit reported the now defunct Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Service owes Lawrence County.

Recently Boggs requested that money directly during a SEOEMS board meeting, but was denied in a vote that was 6 to 2 against giving the county the reimbursement. Now Boggs wants to make the case to the auditor directly. He wants the meeting on Monday when commissioners and representatives from the Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility meet with state officials over the proposed closing of the youth facility. There will be two meetings, one with the Department of Youth Services and Gov. John Kasich.

“We have let our voice be heard,” Boggs said. “We are doing everything we possible can to save the ORV.”

In other business the commissioners:

• Hired Michael Pierce as a full-time paramedic at $10 an hour;

• Approved travel requests for Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper and EMA Director Mike Boster;

• Received a request from the Fayette Township Trustees agreeing to vacate 400 feet of roadway on Township Roads 99 and 279-E;

• Received the weekly dog warden’s report where 39 dogs were destroyed; three were sold and none claimed by their owners. This week there were 93 in custody.