May 14, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
Over the last several weeks and months, ODOT has held meetings with local and state officials to update them on the status of the Portsmouth Bypass project. During the course of the meetings, the Scioto County Commissioners have signed a letter of endorsement. But what puzzles President of Portsmouth City Council Steve Sturgill, is that he says City Council has not been invited to the meetings.
“I’m still perplexed not only as Council president, but as just a member of City Council, that ODOT has not included Portsmouth City Council in any of the meetings that they have been having,” Sturgill said. “I get questions all the time about the bypass, and I can’t answer them. I’m sure that the rest of you may have some of the same issues. I’m beginning to ask myself, if, in fact, Portsmouth City is relevant to this conversation at all.”
Fourth Ward Councilman Jim Kalb chimed in, “They’re bypassing us.”
Sturgill could not find a reason for the exclusion.
“We should at least have the chance to get your two cents in,” Sturgill said. “But it’s something that amazes me. You really have to ask yourself if the city is relevant to this whole conversation. And I happen to think it is. It’s just perplexing that we haven’t had any kind of contact at all.”
Sturgill said he read in the newspaper that ODOT wanted the endorsement of the Scioto County Commissioners, which they did receive.
“I’m sure that’s important to them,” Sturgill said. “But I think also that they would at least like to have a conversation with the city.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT