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You can’t get there from here

October 5, 2009 - Michael Palmer
You can’t get there from here. That was my grandfather’s favorite response to any question posed about driving directions. It was funny at the time, but more often today it is an accurate description of our crumbling transportation systems.

The problem is our aging and deteriorating roads and bridges. Did you know that over 50 percent of the pavements on Ohio's general and urban highway systems fall into the deficient category? These are not just rural sections of remote two-lane highways, 25% of Ohio's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

Locally. county engineers are responsible for maintaining and upgrading 29,477 miles of county highways and 26,848 bridges (64% of all state bridges), including those over waterways within city corporations. Statistics also show that 25% of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

Currently many of us are being inconvenienced by road repair projects. The I-70 east bound tunnel is closed in Wheeling, again. There is a section of US 250 narrowed to one lane for a slip repair. If you drive US 250, you know this is the first of many of these slips that will need repaired in the near future.

State route 150 between Rayland and Dillonvale was closed for one week to complete a work in progress since last fall repairing uphill and downhill slips along SR 150 just east of Township Road 114. It will reopen to a single lane this week.

There is a bridge repair in Clarington on Route 7 that is another one lane traffic light regulated bottleneck. Township Road 476 (Klee's Crossing) will be closed to traffic next Monday, October 12th, for intersection reconstruction with the new alignment of State Route 149 at Bellaire.

Belmont County Road 4, Colerain Pike had just opened from a summer bridge replacement and is currently closed again for another bridge fix until December.

If you detour through Mount Pleasant and drive SR 647, you have seen the cones lining the guard rail where the berm has crumbled away on the hill above CR 4. How long will this remain a two lane?

The bridges over the Ohio River are being replaced gradually, but there are fewer and farther between. Who reading this thinks they will ever see the planned bridge project near Brilliant completed in their lifetime?

Obama’s repaving project has all of us thinking the orange barrel season and the resulting little stop sign traffic snarls will be extended well into winter. Philosophically, if I have to take a detour or be stuck in traffic, fall and the accompanying changing leaves provide a nice temperature range and scenic background for detours and traffic detention.

With all of the roads and bridges in our area needing repair, this can only be the beginning of an ongoing traffic headache for local commuters.


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