MEIGS COUNTY — As a result of the efforts of Meigs County Engineer Eugene Triplett and the Meigs County Highway Department in securing funding for multiple projects, much needed highway repaving, bridge replacements and improvements are taking place across the county.
In what he termed “a perfect storm of funding,” multiple sources of capital became available in 2015, resulting in over 35 miles of new hot mix pavement, four new bridges and significant improvements to three others..”
“If ever the Meigs County Highway Department had an opportunity to boast about its accomplishments, this would be the year,” Triplett said.
Thirty five miles, or 19 percent, of the 183.6 miles of hot mix pavement in the county has a new surface. Hot mix pavement is the smooth blacktop surface usually striped and seen on the major intra-county highways.
According to Triplett, most of the new pavement came from a $3.12 million project funded through the County Surface Transportation Program. The County Engineers Association and Ohio Department of Transportation funds this program.
With this funding , the Federal Highway Administration aid 80 percent and Meigs County paid 20 percent of the costs. A grant from ODOT’s Jobs and Commerce then paid $250,000 of the 20 percent the county was responsible for.
Roads resurfaced with these funds included: CR 1 from SR 124 at Salem Center to the Athens County line, CR 3 (New Lima Road) from SR 124 in Rutland to SR 143 in Harrisonville, CR 5 (Bradbury Road) from the Middleport corporation limit to SR 124, CR 33A (Darwin Road) from SR 681 to the Athens County line, CR 41 (Alfred Road) from SR 681 to the Athens County line (0.22 mile of this portion was 100 percent county funded), CR 42 (Buck Lake Road) from CR 41 to the Athens County line, CR 28 (Bashan Road) from CR 124 (Tornado Road) to CR 30 (Morning Star Road) and CR 124 (Tornado Rd.) from the Racine corporation line to US 33 at CR 35.
A grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission contributed to 74 percent of the resurfacing costs of CR 18 (Kingsbury Road) from White Oak Road to US 33 and West Highland Road in Pomeroy from Union Ave., ending at the former Veterans Memorial Hospital site. The grant was also used in major upgrades to a bridge on Orange Township Road 444 (Keebaugh-Folrod Road). Additionally, a bridge on CR 32 (Eagle Ridge) is seeing improvement that is scheduled to be completed in 2016.
In 2014, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and ODOT announced a program to replace 200 local bridges at no cost to local government. A bridge on CR 124 was paid for by this program the same year. In 2015, the program is paying for the replacement of bridges on CR 29 and Chester Township Road 262.
Bids were received in August for a new bridge on County Road 35 between Stiversville Road and Grimm Road. This project will be completed in 2016 and is funded by the County Local Bridge program. FHWA pays 80% of the cost and the county’s share is being covered by a grant from ODOT’s Jobs and Commerce Department.
Using local moneys, bridges in Bedford Township were replaced and repaired. This summer the county replaced two small bridges on Landaker Road and the superstructure on a small bridge on DeVenney Road.
Triplett challenges himself and the Department to use their funding wisely. Being frugal in their approach to improvements, they have been able to using existing materials and infrastructure whenever possible without compromising the quality or safety of the finished project.
While there are always complaints from commuters about how inconvenient road construction is, residents are encouraged to look at the bigger picture; in 2015, the Meigs County Highway Department was able to make several major improvements without a high cost to residents in the county.
By searching for resources available to the county and applying for grants, projects that might have taken years to complete due to budget constraints are coming to fruition.
As Triplett explained, it isn’t often residents experience this amount of road work all at one time, and it may be awhile before such a windfall comes to the county again.
He urges patience, saying, “Progress is being made and we should step back and take a look at how nice our county roads are looking and enjoy the drive.”
Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155 Ext. 2551