(Updated) Ohio 64/65 relocation debated
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer
Friday, 27 September 2013 04:11
A steady stream of nearly 100 people passed through the library Thursday to hear proposals for relocation of Ohio 64/65.
The slope along the Maumee River, where the two highways run together south of the Waterville Bridge, is eroding, as shown by cracking pavement, damage to past shoulder repairs and split and leaning trees, according to Ohio Department of Transportation officials. Another problem area exists further south on Ohio 65 to the west of Ohio 235 near Nazareth Hall, where similar conditions have been observed.
ODOT administrator Mike Gramza estimated that as many as half of the people he spoke with Thursday showed up expecting to hear more about a potential relocation of the bridge. That project, however, is completely separate and won't be considered until early next year, he said.
County workers began reporting deterioration of the bank in the mid-2000s, Gramza said, and the goal now is to prevent that damage from extending to the roadway.
"It's not going to happen overnight, but the river continues to move and eat away at the slopes," he said.
"If we were to do nothing, whether it'd five years or 10 years, eventually the road would be in the river."
The plans involving road relocation would also include safety improvements, as the redesigned road would have fewer winding turns and allow for faster travel rather than requiring drivers to slow down drastically at curves, Gramza said.
Richard Dean, who lives in Waterville and owns a farm near Bowling Green, said he anticipates the changes would make for a better commute along the highways.
Gramza and other ODOT officials offered six options for the joint section of Ohio 64/65, and three for the separate section of Ohio 65, as well as their costs and impact on property owners, some of whom had pointed words for those, including Gramza, who will make the final decision next month.
Four of the six Ohio 64/65 scenarios involve Jason Golba losing his home. Though more expensive and still impacting others in the area, the plans to install a retaining wall in either the slope itself or across the roadway are the best of bad options, he explained.
"I still don't like that it affects neighbors. In a selfish way, they're obviously more agreeable to me, but I still don't agree with the premise behind the project."
Golba said he thinks the evidence of erosion makes sense but has been overblown, and slope movement in reality is negligible.
"Mountains of molehills are being made. Exaggerating the evidence so to speak.
"They have a result they want to get to," he said, "and they're going to get to it one way or another."
Mike Androvich stands to lose a piece of his property if Ohio 65 is relocated, but not his home. He said the cost to relocate that road, presented by ODOT as the least expensive option by far, is uninformed and greatly underestimated. He said officials had no precise figures about how landowners would be compensated, and it made no sense that a road relocation involving right-of-way and property acquisition and moving utility lines could be half as expensive as installing a retaining wall.
"I'm very sure that their cost estimates are very inaccurate," he said. "They're poorly prepared. I asked them financial questions," and Androvich got few answers.
"There is definitely an issue with some slope erosion. I don't agree that the problem's not real. But the disruption (a road relocation) would cause is not reflected in that number. Not at all."
Gramza said the graphics and materials presented Thursday will be available online early next week.
Public comments will be accepted until Oct. 10 by mail to ODOT's Office of Planning and Programs, 317 East Poe Road, Bowling Green, OH 43402; online at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/districts/D02/Pages/SR-64-SR-65-Slide.aspx; or by emailing
Last Updated on Monday, 30 September 2013 10:03