Wood County invested nearly $2.4 million on repairing six bridges last year, and plans to spend a similar amount this year, with the help of grants.
|A barricade is seen blocking a bridge over Rocky Ford on Mermill Road near Portage, Ohio. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Wood County also invested $1.5 million in roadwork last year, and plans to spend up to $3.5 million this year - again if grants come through.
"We're trying to put the county together with spit and baling wire," Wood County Engineer Ray Huber said Tuesday during his annual report on bridge and road work to the county commissioners.
"Ten percent of the bridges are in dire need of repair or replacement," which doesn't sound like much, until it's realized the county has more than 440 bridges, Huber said. The bridges are each inspected annually.
And since a conservative estimate is $350,000 per bridge, the total repair costs reach close to $15.4 million.
"We're picking away at it year by year," the engineer said. "We are whittling away at our smaller bridges that need attention."
Wood County Commissioner Joel Kuhlman questioned if the financial or time limitations were worse for the engineer's office. Huber indicated that both are issues, but money is the big roadblock.
Huber explained some of the larger bridges will cost up to $1 million to replace.
"We'll have to deal with them as they come around," he said.
Huber said the engineer's office takes several factors into consideration when planning bridge work, such as the impact to the community, the need for the bridge during the school year, or the use of the bridge to get crops to market.
"Once we move in, we try to get it done as quick as possible," he said. "We try to coordinate that with a lot of situations."
Huber reported that road repairs were also becoming more expensive.
"The cost of asphalt is going up," he said.
Commissioner Jim Carter asked about possible funding sources for road and bridge work in the future.
With the use of more fuel-efficient vehicles, the county is seeing less funding through gas tax revenue.
"My revenues are flat," for the past eight years, Huber said. However, "nobody likes to use the word tax increase."
Huber predicted the state will start collecting a user tax, that registers miles driven with a chip installed in the car. "You pay for what you use," he said.
Following are the list of projects completed and planned in Wood County.
Bridges done in 2012:
• Greensburg Pike over South Branch of Portage River in Montgomery Township, cost $437,360.
• Tracy Road over Nelots Creek in Perrysburg and Lake townships, cost $117,093.
• Jerry City Road over Rocky Ford in Portage and Bloom townships, cost $398,803.
• Jerry City Road over Bull Creek in Portage and Bloom townships, cost $499,888.
• Dunbridge Road over Lois Harbor Ditch in Middleton Township, cost $732,719.
• Ault Road over Cedar Creek in Perrysburg and Lake townships, cost $204,326.
Bridges proposed for 2013:
• Bates Road over Grassy Creek in Perrysburg Township, cost $500,000.
• Mermill Road over Rocky Ford in Portage Township, cost $726,009.
• Pemberville Road over Toussaint Creek in Troy Township, cost $678,490.
• Stearns Road over Ditch 2217 in Perry Township, cost $286,184.
Other possible bridges for 2013 work:
• Sugar Ridge Road over Toussaint Creek in Center and Webster townships, cost $450,480.
• Kellogg Road over Ditch 2244 in Washington Township, cost $200,000.
• Bradner Road over Henry Ditch in Lake Township, cost $200,000.
• Owen Road over Cedar Creek in Lake Township, cost $200,000.
Road projects completed in 2012:
• Huffman Road near U.S. 6 in Portage and Center townships, cost $709,079.
• Fostoria Road from Township Road 165 to Ohio 163 in Troy Township, cost $189,899.
• Kellogg Road from Ohio 235 to railroad crossing in Tontogany, in Washington Township, cost $350,169.
• Tracy Road from Ohio Turnpike overpass to just south of Ohio 795, in Lake and Perrysburg townships, cost $175,500.
• Pelton Road from Bloomdale Road to Ohio 199, in Bloom and Perry townships, cost $85,031.
• Pavement markings, covering 65 miles, cost $37,462.
Road projects proposed for 2013:
• Oregon Road, from Ohio Turnpike overpass to First Street in Perrysburg Township, cost $1.7 million.
• East Broadway from Route 795 to city of Northwood, in Lake Township, cost $850,000.
• Kellogg Road from the railroad crossing in Tontogany to Ohio 64, in Washington and Plain townships, cost $650,000.
• Roachton Road from Ohio 199 to Lime City Road in Perrysburg Township, cost $350,000.
• Pavement markings from Bloomdale Road to Route 199 in Bloom and Perry townships, cost $40,000.