To the Editor: ODOT's 'slope monitors' based on faulty premise
Written by Carl Hudecek   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 09:16
Across from Waterville along Route 64/65, the Maumee River flows 60 feet below a steep wooded slope, which has been stable for centuries. It is a great fishing area. Deer, otters, birds, foxes, birds and small animals reside and feed on the hillside.
In July 2012, bulldozers of ODOT subcontractors entered this privately owned slope without permission, in my case bulldozing several thousand square feet to bare ground, moving multi-ton boulders, and taking out saplings and ground cover in order to install "slope monitors".
This "Slope Monitor" program involved layers of consultants at a likely cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in my opinion was based on a faulty premise. ODOT claimed an 18 inch settling of 80 feet of road shoulder was proof of "instability" of the entire five-acre slope, and thus slope monitors should be installed to detect movement.
In fact the shoulder settling was due to incompetent shoulder repairs by ODOT in 2007. They bulldozed 80 feet of shoulder grass and vegetation, laid down an artificial mat, and covered it with poor quality clay fill, never bothering to reseed the area. What else besides settling and erosion could be expected from bare clay subjected to highway water runoff?
ODOT either fails to understand or refuses to acknowledge that slope stability is provided by very large trees, smaller trees and saplings (by the hundreds per acre), and ground cover growing on the slope. Any road above the slope requires good road drainage, a gravel berm and a grassy shoulder to absorb water runoff, and deep rooted vegetation at the slope dropoff .
The bulldozing by ODOT contractors has now destabilized the hillside. ODOT has made no effort at restoration, despite their repeated promises to "correct any damages". They are repeating 2007 all over. Was ODOT's goal the creation of yet another expensive consulting project?
This ODOT boondoggle is somewhere between a shame and a crime.
Carl Hudecek

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