Bridge replacement could cause detour

Published 11:04 am Friday, April 22, 2016

Taking advantage of state funds to replace a bridge was weighed against the inconvenience of a long-term and long distance detour at Thursday’s meeting of the Lawrence County Commission.

A state program from the Ohio Department of Transportation that would totally fund replacing three bridges would shut down County Road 4 for approximately 60 days. The other bridges are on County Road 6 and County Road 13.

The detour would take residents of that area approximately 21 miles out of their way, according to county engineer Patrick Leighty.

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Approximately 2,000 vehicles use that county road daily, translating to 3 million miles for the 60 days the road would be closed. That would be $540,000 in gasoline costs for that time period.

“You are asking the citizens to pay almost as much as it is to pay for the bridge,” Leighty said. “Along with the safety issues.”

The project, scheduled to run from June 10-Aug. 15, brought out a number of area residents to the commissioners’ meeting.

“The residents don’t want to lose the money, but there was no community input,” said Joyce Lynd, who presented a petition with 127 signatures protesting the road closure. “There are elderly with special medical needs. It is more than an inconvenience. It is a safety issue.”

To keep one lane open would double the cost of the project, Vaughn Wilson, deputy director for ODOT District 9, said.

And to postpone the project could mean the funds would go to other projects in the state.

Leighty suggested the county build an access road at its own costs.

Wilson said he would have to check with ODOT’s legal department if there would be any liability on the state, if that were to happen.

“We are willing to listen,” Wilson said. “The one-half width option would be very tough to do and would cost more money. (The access road) we can at least talk about it.”

In other action the commissioners:

• Approved the quote from Perfection Inc. to replace air handler valve for $4,132;

• Approved a 30-foot right of way easement for AEP.