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Boulder project moving forward

Bids set to be opened Jan. 14

SOUTH POINT — Bids will be opened later this month on the project to cut down part of the hillside along U.S. 52 near the Ashland-Coal Grove bridges to stop a repeat of a boulder falling into the roadway.

“We will open the bids on Jan. 14,” said Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for Ohio Department of Transportation District 9.

The contract will be awarded in about a week.

In the early morning hours of April 10, a massive boulder landed in the westbound lanes of U.S. 52 near Crabtree Hollow Road. That forced the closure of all four lanes through the morning so Ohio Department of Transportation crews could clear the highway.

“We will not take down the whole boulder, but building a buttress and shoring up the area, scaling and removing some rock in a couple of different areas,” Fuller said.

The $6.8 million project will focus on sites east and west of Crabtree Hollow.

Construction is expected to start no later than the beginning of March with traffic restricted to one lane westbound.

“There will be some periods of closure when they pull away the rock,” Fuller said. “We will try to plan out to the best of our ability where we give people more than a day’s traffic.”

The closures are expected to be for 10-to-15 minute intervals and will not be doing it during morning and afternoon rush hours.