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Bridge project on hold

Postponement for a year recommended

The bridge project on County Road 4 will be postponed for a year to 18 months following a public outcry over a proposed detour.

An Ohio Department of Transportation program paid for by federal funds would cover the cost of replacing bridges on County Road 4, County Road 6 and County Road 13.

However, ODOT designed the project to close the bridge down while the replacement is going on. The proposed detour would take residents in the area about 21 miles out of their way over rural roads for 60 days prompting their concerns about inconvenience and safety.

The Lawrence County Commissioners asked ODOT for permission to build an access road around the project at the county’s cost. ODOT said there were only two options: get the contractor to cut the project time to 30 days or stop it entirely.

Lawrence County Engineer Patrick Leighty responded that ODOT should pull the project now.

However, in an email to the commission from ODOT, there was a third option offered.

“It would probably take a year to a year and a half to redesign the bridge, secure the environmental clearances needed, buy right of way, relocate the utilities and sell another project that would include a temporary road,” the email said. “If you could get clearance for the temporary, this would be cheaper than trying to build the bridge one-half at a time.”

The commission took the recommendation of the county engineer at its regular Thursday meeting and postponed the project for a year.

“That will give ODOT the time to have the project redesigned and have a bypass,” commissioner Bill Pratt said. “That is what the people really want.”