End of winter bringing road projects
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County has come through some difficult winter days that have Belmont County Engineer Terry Lively taking stock.
“The last half of winter was challenging for us. We had some ice storms and some snow storms. Nothing severe, but it kept us busy with tree cleanup and so forth. We’re just about done with those,” Lively said. “We didn’t suffer any significant damage this winter. We didn’t lose any bridges or any roads from the storms. … Some of the townships had damages. … Overall I think we got through the winter pretty well. It looks like we’ve got a couple new slips starting, but nothing huge.
“We’re getting out of the winter season, treating roads and gearing up for summer operations, which is going to be ditching and mowing – we’ve already started some of that, and of course pothole patching,” Lively continued. “The asphalt plants haven’t opened up yet, so we’re still doing cold patching.”
Lively said federal highway projects from 2018 disasters will be addressed, with work being done on Belmont County Road 56 between Maynard and U.S. 250. Another two projects will be scheduled for Belmont County Road 16, or Nixon Run. These include replacing a failing retaining wall that is leaning. Lively said it will be replaced by a permanent wall.
“It’s going to be a busy summer for us,” he said.
Lively said the federal government is paying 80 percent of project costs, while the county pays 20 percent, or about $100,000, for the Nixon Run work.
“It’s a pretty good-sized project,” Lively said.
“We’ve got some projects of our own coming up,” Lively added, pointing out a chip and seal project that will be going out to bid soon. Bids are to be opened April 20 and cover much of the east side of the county. “That’s going to be the biggest chip seal project we’ve ever bid out. We’ve got eight of the 16 townships in Belmont County participating, along with our roads.”
He said the work should take about two months.
“This is the third or fourth year we’ve done this. We’ve opened it up to the townships to participate. It’s been very successful up to this point, and the townships are very happy to get involved in this project. They get better prices for their chip seal roads, and we get better prices because it’s a bigger project,” Lively said.
He said the overall cost could be about $1.6 million for the county and the townships.
“It’ll probably get started June and we should be wrapped up August … September at the latest,” he said.
Two Ohio Public Works Commission paving projects also will be scheduled for summer on Winding Hill Road and the Glendale area.
“That’s going to be keeping us busy,” Lively said. “I’m working on some bridge projects as well.”
Lively said rising fuel prices are also being taken into account.
“It is taking a bigger bite out of our budget, of course. We buy a lot of fuel for our vehicles, and it’s costing us money,” he said. “It remains to be seen, we haven’t bid out any asphalt or oil projects yet. We’re expecting substantial increases on prices for asphalt and anything oil-based, but we haven’t got any bids yet and we don’t know for sure how big of an increase that’s going to be. … We intend to push forward with these projects regardless because we’re so far into them and there’s grant dollars already committed. … Depending on what the prices look like, it might impact how many projects we can do in the future.”
Pultney Township Trustee Frank Shaffer commented on the situation in his township.
“This is springtime, we’re working on the roads. We’ve got some road issues that we’re taking care of in-house,” he said. “We’re moving along, but it’s taking time. It’s just like every other year after spring hits. You’ve got to get your ditching done and your road repairs from the winter. … We have a couple trouble spots. It’s Lower Moss Run. There was a washout there. It washed out some culverts. We’ve got a temporary opening so the people can get in.
“Trough Run is an issue right now. It’s pretty sloppy when it rains. We are working diligently with the engineer’s office and other entities to try to get some help in doing that particular road. It’s going to take time. People’s got to be patient and wait and we will get to it in due time,” Shaffer said.