Road work

County moves money to pay for roads and bridges

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In March, Wood County Engineer John Musteric reported that the county’s roads and bridges were in dire condition. They suffered from too many repairs needed and not enough funding. That announcement sent the Wood County Commissioners on a search for county funds that could be moved over for road and bridge improvements. And on Monday, the commissioners reported that they had come up with nearly $6.5 million to be used during the next five years to build and repair county bridges and roads. “We look forward to much progress in improving our roads and bridges,” Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said during a press conference announcing the funding. Herringshaw said it was clear that the county engineer’s office would never catch up with road and bridge repairs under the current funding system. The commissioners agreed earlier this year to enact a new $5 vehicle license fee, with the revenue going to road and bridge work. But Herringshaw said it was clear that wouldn’t generate enough funding to meet the needs. The county roads and bridges are at a crisis, Musteric said this past spring. “We’ve been in a crisis mode for a long time. We’ve got so much to take care of and maintain.” 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 in March. But the newly found funding will help, he said Monday. The road and bridge funding will come from the following sources: – One-time transfer of $1.8 million from Wood County Building Inspection cash balance. – One-time transfer of $300,000 from the conveyance fee that funds county economic development. – One-time transfer of $100,000 from the Wood County Clerk of Courts’ auto title fund. – $200,000 each year for five years from county sales tax revenue. – $650,000 annually from the new $5 vehicle license fee. Musteric said much of the funding will be spent on the road and bridge needs south of U.S. 6, where safety has become an issue. “These are your roads. I’m here to protect them and improve them,” he said. Nearly three-quarters of the county’s road conditions are currently rated marginal or…

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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…

BG moves ahead on roundabouts and City Park building

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green rounded out the year Thursday by approving steps for the city’s first roundabouts and a new building in City Park. During its final meeting of the year, City Council voted unanimously to issue a total of nearly $10 million in bonds to finance both projects. For the roundabouts, $6.2 million in bonds will be used to improve the Interstate 75 and East Wooster Street area by constructing rotary intersections. “This is a great piece of legislation to end the year on,” said council member Bruce Jeffers. The city has been working on the East Wooster improvements for years, he noted. Jeffers told Mayor Dick Edwards that he recently visited the community of Carmel, Indiana, which the mayor frequently points out as a community that knows how to use roundabouts. Carmel has 100 of the circular intersections. “The roundabouts are going to be great” in Bowling Green, Jeffers said. The project will add two roundabouts designed for semi-trucks at both I-75 interchanges on East Wooster Street. The bridge driving surface will be replaced, with a bike-pedestrian trail being added from Alumni Drive to Dunbridge Road along north side of Wooster Street. The plan calls for a landscaped gateway to be created to Bowling Green and Bowling Green State University. The goal is made the entrance to the city more attractive, create a smoother traffic flow and reduce accidents at the interchanges. Though utility work will begin in 2018, the bulk of the actual interchange and roadway work will take place in 2019. The bonds will help pay for the road widening, paving, resurfacing, grading, draining, constructing curbs, sidewalks and related drainage improvements, installing traffic signals and lighting, installing waterlines and sanitary sewers, and constructing a sanitary sewer pump station. The roundabout project is being worked on with the Ohio Department of Transportation. The current estimated cost for the entire project is more than $8.8 million. The city and utility portion of the project is approximately $6 million. An ODOT safety grant of $750,000 in addition to the ODOT share of the project at $1.7 million adds up to $2.47 million toward the cost. The Wood County Commissioners also kicked in $300,000 for the project. Also at Thursday’s meeting, council approved the sale of $3.75 million in bonds to tear down three old buildings and construct a new one in City Park….

ODOT to spend $5 million to widen Route 582

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For a state route, Ohio 582 north of Bowling Green is uncommonly narrow. So the Ohio Department of Transportation has plans to fix that problem. But like so many issues, correcting one problem creates another. ODOT plans to widen 3.5 miles of Route 582 from Mercer Road in Middleton Township to about 1,000 feet east of Ohio 199 in Webster Township. While that project will be an improvement for motorists, the widening plan is causing some concerns for those who live along the roadway. But ODOT spokesperson Rebecca Shirling said some of the concerns are unfounded. The “myth” that ODOT will need to take the church in Dunbridge for the widening is false, she said. However, ODOT will need to take down one block commercial building near the intersection of Dunbridge Road, plus one house and two sheds further east on Route 582. A meeting was held earlier this year to explain the project to landowners along the route. Many had questions about the effect of the widening on their properties. “Once we explained it, most of the people were OK,” Shirling said. Another meeting was held this past week by a law firm that specializes in eminent domain law. Megan O’Neill, from the Krause & Kinsman Eminent Domain Law Firm, said about five landowners along Route 582 attended the meeting. They had concerns about the loss of their front yards and farmland, plus worries about construction so close to their homes. Because of the ditch on the south side of Route 582, most of the widening will take place on the north side of the roadway. “There’s essentially no shoulder on Route 582,” Shirling said. The lanes are 11 feet wide now, compared to the 12-foot standard for state routes. “For being a state route, it is pretty narrow,” she said. “It feels tight when you’re driving it,” with the guardrail right on the edge of the lane of travel. ODOT’s plan is to add four-foot shoulders on both sides of the road. Because of the ditch, most of that additional space will come from the north side of the road, except when it gets close to Route 199. Much of Route 582 was sporadically patched during the Interstate 75 construction, so this project will allow for the entire portion from Mercer to Route 199 to be repaved, Shirling said. Also,…

Sewer work to start on Gypsy Lane

The Northwestern Water and Sewer District has announced that effective Tuesday, September 12, and Wednesday, September 13, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily, Gypsy Lane Road, between Rudolph Road and Sand Ridge Road will be closed for sewer maintenance.  Detour: Rudolph Road to Sand Ridge.  All work is weather permitting.