Infrastructure

ODOT paves way for road, bridge work in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGLIN BG Independent News   Summertime – the season of vacations, longer days, and often long delays or detours due to road construction. “Orange barrels. Everybody’s favorite,” said Phil Senn, area engineer for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 2, as he told the Wood County commissioners Tuesday about projects planned in the county. “We’ve got a lot going on,” Senn said. Following is a list of ODOT bridge projects in Wood County this year: Waterville bridge replacement at Ohio 64 and Ohio 65, costing $14 million, with a completion date of September 2020. A 45-day closure of the bridge began on June 18 for construction of a roundabout on the Wood County side. Wooster Street over Interstate 75, in Bowling Green, with plans to convert the intersections to roundabouts, costing $9.6 million. The project, which includes redecking the bridge over I-75, and sanitary sewer and waterline work, will be completed November 2019. Ohio 281 over I-75, south of Bowling Green, involving a bridge deck replacement, costing $1.1 million. The bridge is open now, and all work should be completed next month. Ohio 579 bridge replacements over Dry Creek and Cedar Creek, costing $1.6 million, to be completed this October. CSX railroad bridge by the Ohio Turnpike will be demolished, costing $2.2 million, to be completed June 2019. Road resurfacing projects in Wood County this year include: U.S. 20 paving from East Boundary Street to Lime City Road, costing $3.4 million, to be completed in August; a new traffic signal at Thompson Road; sidewalk extension from Holiday Inn to Heartland driveway. The Route 20 paving work is complete except for land striping. Ohio 25 paving from Jefferson Street to south of Roachton Road, costing $3.4 million. The paving is complete, but striping must be finished. Ohio 199 paving from Ohio 105 to Niederhouse Road, costing $664,000, to be complete in October. Route 579 paving from Ohio 51 to Ottawa County line, costing $1.6 million, to be done in October. ODOT is planning the following intersection construction work in Wood County: Left turn lane to be added on eastbound Route 20 to Route 163, costing $850,000, to be completed in November. Roundabout on Route 199 at Carronade Drive, costing $1 million, was completed in March. Roundabouts on Buck Road at Lime City Road, and Buck Road at Penta Center Drive, costing $3.3 million, to be completed in October 2019. Wood County Commissioner Craig LaHote said the roundabouts in the northern part of the county seem to be working well. “I think people are…

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Small towns count on big help from block grant funding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Small town government can be short on glamour, and steeped in talk of storm drains, street repairs and sewer systems. Mayors and other officials from many of Wood County’s 26 municipalities recently made their preliminary pitches to get funding for projects that they cannot afford on their own. Listening to their proposals were officials from the Wood County Planning Commission – which is the first of several steps to get Community Development Block Grants. Dave Steiner, director of the planning commission, said this year’s funding level for the county overall is still unknown. The projects must serve areas with low to moderate income, or eliminate slum or blight conditions. And if communities are able to pitch in some matching dollars, they stand a better chance of getting funds. Bowling Green gets its own pot of CDBG money, but the other municipalities in Wood County compete for the county share. Following is a list of some of the project requests made earlier this month: Bradner: “We’re here to once again replace waterlines,” said Board of Public Affairs President Jim Smith. “All that we are replacing were put in by WPA,” meaning they are at least 80 years old. “As they continue to age, we’re constantly dealing with breakages,” he said. Village leaders would also like to put LED lighting in the town, plus update lighting in the village park. Custar: Mayor Renee Hartman said street improvements are needed on Custar Road, especially where it is damaged by heavy truck traffic near the grain elevator. “We are continuously filling the potholes,” Hartman said. “Very, very poor” sidewalks along Custar Road also need fixing, she said. Grand Rapids: Chad Hoffman, village administrator, said the town needs sanitary sewer work on the west side of the community, and sidewalk repairs throughout the village. Village leaders also plan to ask that Ohio 65 be rerouted out of the town, Hoffman said. “Since ODOT won’t maintain and repair it. Something’s got to be done there.” The wastewater treatment plant needs improvements, and new water regulations are looming. “EPA is telling everyone they need a backup water source. I don’t know where they expect us to find it,” Hoffman said. Haskins: Village Administrator Colby Carroll said funding is needed for the downtown area. “ODOT recrowned Route 64 to the point car doors are scraping the road,” he said. The town also needs an alternate access for the Logan Meadows subdivision, and is interested in building a storm shelter for those residents of the community…


Portable scales may be used to deter overweight trucks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County officials tired of roads being beat up by overweight trucks may start using portable scales to snag those heavy loads. Wood County Engineer John Musteric and Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn made a pitch to the county commissioners Thursday morning about setting up an overweight vehicle permit program using scales that can easily be transported throughout the county. The goal isn’t to make money off of permits and fines, Musteric said, but rather to discourage heavy trucks from breaking up county roads. Overweight truck traffic is increasing on interstates, so it’s only natural that to reach their destinations, those trucks have to use smaller county and township roads. While most trucking companies get permits with ODOT for overweight loads, they often neglect to get permits at the local level, Musteric said. Last year, Ohio issued 367,332 permits for overweight trucks. When detailing their routes, those trucking companies identified 46,034 loads that traveled through Wood County. Yet only 57 permits were issues for Wood County, Musteric said. The legal limit on Ohio roads is 80,000 pounds. Some of the heavy trucks weigh as much as 165,000 pounds. “Some of those people aren’t going to be happy,” Wasylyshyn said. Permits can be purchased per truck, per route traveled. “If they get off that route, and they get nailed, they pay hefty fines,” Musteric said. But Musteric stressed the goal isn’t to make money, but to control which roads overweight trucks travel. “Believe me, this is not a money grab for us,” he told the commissioners. The county’s roads and bridges are in “dire straits” and suffer from heavy loads. So part of the permitting program will be educational – with efforts made to direct overweight traffic to more suitable routes. The sheriff and engineer suggested that Wood County use portable scales as part of that educational process. “ODOT has three portable scales just waiting to be used, at no cost,” Musteric said. Construction of the Rover pipeline across southern Wood County has taught the engineer’s office a painful lesson, Musteric said. “Rover tore the heck out of the roads,” the engineer said. Signs have already been posted to keep Nexus pipeline construction trucks on roads that are better able to handle the heavy loads. “They better stay on those routes. They’ve been warned,” Musteric said. “If you get off those routes, you will pay.” A sheriff’s deputy could be trained to use the scales, which can handle trucks with up to 15 axles. The sheriff’s office gets…


Wood County looking at rough roads and old bridges

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s got some rough roads ahead, not to mention some bridges long overdue on being replaced. Wood County Engineer John Musteric took his road show to the crowded courthouse atrium Tuesday for the State of the County address. “It’s not good,” he told the crowd. The county has 245 miles of roads to maintain, plus 441 bridges with an average age of 41 years. More than 20 bridges have passed the century mark, with the granddaddy of them all being the 133-year-old bridge on Custar Road south of Sand Ridge Road. “We’re way behind, way behind,” Musteric said. Musteric drew a quick road map for the audience. Nearly three-quarters of the county’s roads are rated marginal or lower. Nearly half of those are ranked as poor or serious. Bringing those roads up to fair condition would cost an estimated $39 million. The county engineer’s office is studying pavement preservation practices. The lifespan of average pavement is 25 years. To catch up, the county would need to pave 35 miles every year – costing about $10.3 million each year. Instead, the county is spending about $1.1 million a year on paving. The county roads and bridges are at a crisis, Musteric said after the public address. “We’ve been in a crisis mode for a long time. We’ve got so much to take care of and maintain.” The engineer’s office is planning to draw the line at paving roads that have crumbling culverts underneath. Since there are about 2,500 culverts in the county, that could add up to quite a few road miles. When it comes to bridges, the county plans to replace four this year, costing about $1.2 million. That is just a drop in the bucket, with 441 bridges in Wood County. More than half are over 50 years old, and 52 bridges are ranked in poor or worse shape. The cost to replace those 52 would add up to $20.8 million, Musteric said. At the pace the county is going, it would take 90 years to replace all the bridges. The big roadblock to paving and bridge repairs is the lack of funding. The county engineer’s office gets funding from the state gas tax, license plate fees and a smaller portion from traffic fines. “It’s just a struggle because the gas tax hasn’t been raised,” Musteric said about the state tax. “We’re at their mercy. So Musteric has some ideas. He plans to talk with the county commissioners Thursday at 10 a.m. about a possible…


Public meeting on Toledo Area Water Authority initiative set for Feb. 15

From NORTHWESTERN WATER & SEWER DISTRICT The Northwestern Water and Sewer District (The District) will host a Regional Water Informational Meeting on water supply options in Wood County Thursday, February 15, 6:30 p.m., Quality Inn, 10612 Fremont Pike, Perrysburg. As an established regional water authority, The District is exploring long-term water supply options for approximately 6,500 water customers in Northern Wood County, including the cities of Rossford and Northwood, The Village of Walbridge, as well as customers in Perrysburg Township, Troy Township, and Lake Township. The District is currently exploring options with the Toledo Regional Water Authority (TAWA) as well as other water sources in Wood County. The purpose of this meeting is to inform the public by presenting information regarding these options, prior to making the decision to sign an agreement with TAWA. Information on TAWA and most the recent Wood County Economic Development Study will be presented. Click for more information on TAWA. Click for information on the most recent Wood County Economic Development Study. https://www.facebook.com/events/1597726893 Directions: From I-75, take Exit 193 (US 20), head east on Fremont Pike (US20), right on Lakevue Drive, the Quality Inn will be on the right with parking and access to the conference room facing US 20. ACCOMIDATIONS/RESERVATIONS: The District’s public meetings and events are accessible to people with disabilities. If you need assistance in participating in a meeting or event due to a disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact The District at least three (3) business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation. To reserve a seat, please call or email below. Phone: 419-354-9090 EX 193 Email: district@nwwsd.org


Northwestern Water and Sewer District active exploring creation of regional water authority

By DAVID DUPONT & JAN McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Officials from the Northwestern Water and Sewer District will continue to take Part in talks aimed at creating a regional water authority. The proposed Toledo Area Water Authority would purchase and operate the Toledo water plant. Jerry Greiner, the district president, said in an interview that talk of creating a regional water district has been going on for 15 years. But Toledo officials have always insisted they were not able to sell the water plant. Now the new administration of Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz is saying that selling the plant is possible, or at least leasing the facility. That plant is in the midst of a $500 million retrofit, that’s about 60 percent done. Toledo is facing financing the rest of the job. As Toledo does this work required by the EPA, it is facing renegotiating contracts with many of its customers, including NWWSD. That contract expires in October, 2024. Those entities are looking for alternate sources of water. Greiner and the district’s general counsel Rex Huffman have been part of the discussion with eight other entities, including Perrysburg. About a third of the district’s 19,000 customers receive water from Toledo, not including those who get Toledo water through Perrysburg. The district draws its water from five entities in all, including Bowling Green. Greiner said that the possibility of the district contracting with Bowling Green to get water is still open. At a district board meeting this morning (Jan. 25), trustees gave the nod to Greiner and Huffman to go ahead and agree to continue to be part of the planning. No formal vote was taken. Rob Armstrong, one of the nine board members, objected. He was concerned about the district’s representation on the water authority governing board. As outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding, the district would share a seat on the board with Fulton County. The seats are apportioned based on the percentage of Toledo’s water that an entity draws. The district draws 5 percent, and Fulton draws 3 percent, Huffman noted. Perrysburg has its own seat, and it consumes 6 percent. District board members indicated they would favor having Greiner or Huffman represent the district, but restrictions spelled out in the memorandum exclude them. Armstrong said he did not want to go forward not knowing who would represent the district on the board. Board Chair Mark Sheffer said the board’s action simply keeps them at the table to continue investigating the process. The district would still have to negotiate with Fulton County to decide…


Waterline work to close Poe Road west of BG starting Monday

The Northwestern Water and Sewer District announces the following update on the construction of the Potter Road Water line installation in Plain Township.  Updates are highlighted in bold and underlined.  Work was postponed due to weather. Potter Road Waterline Installation Effective, Monday, January 22, from 9am-4pm, Poe Road between Tontogany Road and Range Line Road will be closed for waterline installation.  Detour: Tontogany Road; Long-Judson Road; Range-Line Road.  Effective Tuesday, January 23,through March, expect lane restrictions on Potter Road from Poe Road to Long-Judson Road for waterline installation.  Traffic will be maintained by flaggers.  Project complete: March.