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Keeping the light on

Chesy mayor wants new traffic signal


CHESAPEAKE — Getting funding to replace the traffic lights at the foot of the Chesapeake side of the Robert C. Byrd Bridge has taken a top spot on Mayor Dick Gilpin’s wish list.

Recently when the light went out, Gilpin was on the wrong end of a series of complaints about traffic congestion and had to track down a repair crew from Putnam County, W.Va., to get the double light with turn signal up and running again.

“The light was repaired after many hours of frustration,” Gilpin said. “There is nobody local to do it. The first time we got a guy from Frankfort, Ohio, but that didn’t hold.”

That’s when Gilpin turned to Bayliss and Ramey, Inc., out of Fraziers’ Bottom, W.Va.

“They are one of the largest in traffic maintenance and have crews out all over,” the mayor said. “One of the lights in the head had melted down and fried.”

Repairing and replacing the light is the responsibility of the village even though it is at the intersection of Ohio 7 and Third Avenue.

“Home rule states (the village) is responsible for pavement and traffic lights,” said Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for District 9 of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

For the past year ODOT has been working on a design plan to repair a slip also along Ohio 7, also known as Rockwood Avenue. However that is the exception to the rule.

“In the case of Rockwood, if they approach us, we can work with the village and pay a portion,” Fuller said. “Obviously we have an obligation on state and federal routes to keep them open. The village would have to approach us about an emergency or high-risk situation and we take it from there … if we have the funding.”

If the village wanted ODOT assistance, Fuller suggested it contact ODOT’s traffic engineer.

Right now Gilpin hasn’t any firm idea about the cost for replacing the bridge light, but would like to replace the head, the wiring and the controller system of the light.

“We have had problems with shorts in the wiring,” he said. “We have had controller problems. Lightning will take it out.”