Casino tax to go toward bridges PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 09:41
Local proceeds from state casino taxes will fund design work for four additional bridge projects in Wood County next year.
Engineer Ray Huber presented Wood County Commissioners Tuesday with a list of 10 projects for which he would like additional funding. Commissioners announced this summer that they would use up to $750,000 in 2013 casino tax revenue to design bridge work to have projects ready as money becomes available for construction.
Huber said he will continue to pursue grants to address repairs to some of the more than 440 county bridges he maintains; however, he does not see the paying for extra design as "expediting" any building, because the Ohio Revised Code requires a lengthy process for selecting consultants to do the work. Having plans ready also doesn't help if there's no money to pay for additional projects, he explained, and while funding to the engineer's office has remained flat, cost of materials has risen.
"I could have all the paper in the world sitting on the shelf, but if I haven't got the dollars to pay contractors, it isn't going to get done," Huber said.
"I have to do less with the same amount of money I had eight years ago, and that's the simple bottom line."
Huber estimated that construction costs for projects on the list would be significantly higher than that for design work, as much as $800,000 to build each.
The list does not represent the 10 bridges most in need of repair, only those with a higher cost that may be difficult to fund without casino revenue, Huber explained. Most of those in the worst, most critical condition have been addressed, but several more show up as bridges are inspected each year.
"The bridges you see right here aren't necessarily in dire need of replacement at this point in time. We just know that they're going to be expensive to design," he said.
The list did indicate the condition of each bridge and its status - whether open with no restrictions, with a posted weight limit, or closed altogether. Just one of the 10 is closed and rated with a zero indicating the worst condition in the annual bridge report, on Insley Road south of Needles Road. But it is currently closed and would receive little regular traffic if repaired.
Only one project would result in construction in 2014 - Glenwood Road north of Wales Road near Rossford - because design work has already begun and federal funding secured for construction. Several other bridges have been placed on a list for future federal construction funding, including those on Long Judson and Jerry City roads, both west of Milton Road, slated for 2016.

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