Scioto County Engineer Darren LeBrun was recently appointed to the Board of Ohio’s Research Initiative for Locals (ORIL). The appointment to the ORIL Board was made by the County Engineers Association of Ohio (CEAO)
LeBrun has been an elected official serving Scioto County since 2017, when he was elected as engineer. He has maintained that seat since.
Through research, ORIL provides solutions to issues facing Ohio’s local transportation system. It’s a collaborative effort to improve the transportation network in Ohio’s counties, townships, cities and villages.
The program is managed by a 15-person board composed of county engineers, city engineers, a township representative, academics, and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Technical Experts.
The board is supported by non-voting members from the Ohio LTAP (ODOT’s educational arm) Center, ODOT Research Program and the Federal Highway Commission (FHWA) Ohio Division Office.
Only two seats for county engineers are available on this board. Out of 88 counties, LeBrun was one of two engineer’s chosen.
“This board picks up research projects to find good means and methods for doing work,” LeBrun said. “An example, one project they’ve looked at before was the best way to patch a pothole. That sounds a little silly, but, if you send somebody out to patch potholes, there is a lot there already. For one, you have a problem because you have the pothole, so you have to figure why that pothole is there. Another is, you know, if you put something in that doesn’t work, you have to revisit it and fix it again, which is more manpower, materials and time.”
The board will select various methodology examinations and then decide the best courses of action to improve the highway systems across the state.
“I’m proud. The big thing, for me, is representing Scioto County. I feel like Scioto County plays a big role in the state and we sometimes get overlooked. We don’t have the population of some areas and we aren’t close to any of the big metropolitan areas,” LeBrun explained. “So, whatever Scioto County’s issues are, they are some of the things I can bring to the board and make sure Scioto County concerns are heard.”
Previously, LeBrun served two terms as District 9 Director of the County Engineers Association of Ohio for calendar years 2020 and 2021. During this time, he served as CEAO’s representative for ODOT’s Speed Limit Committee, which revised ODOT’s Traffic Manual concerning the determination of speed limits on Ohio’s roadways.
“I’ve had good people to work with. We have good employees and we’ve had good commissioners since I’ve been in office. I feel like it has been a positive experience that I’ve not regretted at all,” LeBrun said. “Being County Engineer, I feel is a very important role in the county and I’m humbled and honored to have this position.”
When asked about his greatest achievement as County Engineer, LeBrun was quick to say it is his countywide road improvement program he implemented in 2018. The program has witnessed 406 roads being paved for a total of 7,000 dump truck of asphalt across the county. This year alone, the Countywide Roadway Improvement Project put down 1,600 dump truck loads of asphalt.
In its lifetime, the project has witnessed incredible numbers, thanks to the Ohio Public Works Grant that LeBrun pursues every year. Since its inception, a total of $11,290,263 has been spent on new roadways. $6,774,158 of that money was ear noted from won grant dollars and $4,516,105 was provided from local municipal matching dollars.
LeBrun said he looks forward to continuing his efforts in improving the local roadways, serving Ohio at large, and giving Scioto County a voice as he elevates his career and shows how much good can come from an engineering department.
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved