By Wayne Allen
Action taken during Thursday’s Scioto County Commissioners meeting brings $3.3 million in county infrastructure projects closer to reality. The projects are under the direction of Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman, and include a West Portsmouth Improvement Project and a Highway Improvement Project.
In 2013, Opperman’s office applied for and obtained approval of grant funds from the Federal Highway Administration to perform resurfacing and minor widening with horizontal and vertical alignment changes as needed on Washington Boulevard, in West Portsmouth.
“The project is also planned to include base repair, curb and gutter installation, implementation of a storm sewer system, culvert replacement, traffic control installation and other items needed to complete the project,” Opperman said at the time of awarding of Federal Highway Administration funds.
Opperman said crews within the engineer’s office have evaluated the drainage system of the West Portsmouth area to identify the changes needed at the terminus of the watersheds in the area of Galena Pike. Pipe replacements are scheduled for Galena Pike in anticipation of the Washington Boulevard project and the impending resurfacing of Galena Pike.
Opperman said as a part of the project city of Portsmouth Water Lines will be replaced. He said replacement of the line will occur while the roadway is closed to traffic. He said some Issue 1 funding was received for this project, that funding will assist Portsmouth in the cost of replacing the water lines.
“They (city of Portsmouth) are having financial issues and only had a limited amount of funds to pay for replacing the water lines. In order to progress the project and make sure we have a good product in the end. We applied for issue 1 funds,” Opperman said.
He said the issue 1 funding will fill the gap between the city funding and what is needed for their work on the water lines.
“We don’t want to have an issue of busted water lines once we rebuild the roadway,” Opperman said.
Voters in Ohio approved the issuance of infrastructure bonds that would fund infrastructure improvements for roads and bridges. Opperman said the West Portsmouth Improvement project scheduled to begin construction in 2016, with a cost of $2.1 million.
Another upcoming project for Opperman’s office is a 2015 Highway Improvement Program.
The highway improvement project calls for 12 miles of roadway to be resurfaced and improvements to Pine Creek Road in Wayne National Forest.
Opperman said the Pine Creek Road project will upgrade a road that’s never been upgraded.
“It’s our only gravel road in the county. We’re going to keep it gravel, but there are places in the road that can get flooded. We are called to repair it a couple of times a year, sometimes there are ruts that are sometimes a foot deep,” Opperman said.
He said if things can be worked out with the Ohio Department of Transportation the Pine Creek Road improvements could get started this year.
“That would be matching funds on the Pine Creek Project, towards our federal lands access grant, that we received on two phases of Pine Creek, which is in the Wayne National Forest,” Opperman said.
The highway improvement project and improvements to Pine Creek Road will cost $1.3 million.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT