Bridge Woes

HARRISON COUNTY residents received some bittersweet news at Wednesday’s commissioners’ meeting.

A bridge on County Road 51 has been closed for nearly a year. The closing has resulted in both inconvenience and safety concerns. The bridge’s status has yielded much public outcry.

Harrison Countians received good news in form of funding for the project. County officials were able to secure 80 percent funding from the state.

The bridge is the largest in Harrison County.

Consequently, repair costs will be prohibitive. Having the state pick up 80 percent of the price tag is great news for the county’s engineering department.

Unfortunately, the good news was offset by the fact the funding will not be made available until 2017. That is a sobering development.

Three more years without the bridge’s availability is too much of a burden to shoulder for county residents.

Alternative funding sources could greatly expedite the project. The most viable option is in the hands of state legislators — that being severance tax money.

As the legislation is currently scripted, it does little to help Eastern Ohio. Unfortunately, an amendment to the bill appears lacking in support.

Bridge replacements don’t come cheaply. Consequently, the County Road 51 bridge project appears stalled unless there is an unexpected turn of funding events.

If users of the County Road 51 bridge must wait until 2017 for a new span, that is a much too high price to pay.