Closure notice needed

Published 9:48 am Thursday, January 28, 2016

If a boulder falls on the highway with no cars around, does it make a sound? Yes, a resounding one that has galvanized the Ohio Department of Transportation into action.

That is what happened this past spring when consistent freezes and thaws caused a massive boulder to come crashing down on U.S. 52, east of Crabtree Hollow Road.

Fortunately no one was hurt, but, as the insurance commercial says, there will be pain.

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It will come when the crews from an outside contractor spend approximately three months starting this spring to construct buttresses to keep a potential tragedy from happening.

“We are going to buttress under the larger boulder and do some clearing of rock,” said Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation, District 9. “We will take down some rock and do some shoring up.”

Two firms bid on the project with Allard Excavation of South Webster coming in at $3.4 million.

The problem is, from time to time, when crews are clearing out rock, the westbound lane on U.S. 52 near South Point will be shut down to traffic.

Fuller said those closures will be for only 10 to 15 minutes. But being caught in traffic even that short a time can be stressful at the very least and possibly dangerous.

That’s why ODOT must make the contractor give a significant amount of notice on when those closures are going to happen so motorists can find alternative routes.

Anything less would be intolerable.