Commissioners pleased with ODOT news

April 30, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

At the Tuesday meeting of the Scioto County Commissioners, Chairman Mike Crabtree said he was pleased with the news that the Ohio Department of Transportation intends to keep the Scioto County Garage open after the Portsmouth Bypass is constructed.

“We’re very pleased with the decision that’s been made. We got a call from the ODOT Chief of Staff (Greg Murphy) yesterday (Monday), confirming they had made the decision not to do away with the state jobs within the county. They’ve decided to leave the maintenance the way it is,” Crabtree said. “The only things that’s going to change is any maintenance associated with the bypass, when it comes to resurfacing or repairing potholes would be done by the contractor.”

Crabtree said he knows the employees were grateful to here the news they would remain at the Scioto County facility.

Last week commissioners Crabtree and Doug Coleman met with a majority of the employees of the Lucasville ODOT facility to hear their concerns.

Those attending the meeting wanted to inform the commissioners they favor the construction of the Portsmouth Bypass, but are concerned about the long-term maintenance of state roadways within Scioto County.

Over the last several weeks and months, ODOT has held meetings with local and state officials to update them on the status of the project. Over the course of the meetings, the commissioners have been asked to sign a letter endorsing the Public-Private partnership (P3) process ODOT is using to accelerate project funding which in turn would allow the roadway to be completed quicker than using traditional funding sources.

According to Crabtree, Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman is composing a letter of support for the project relating to the P3 process and the development of the Portsmouth Bypass. Whether or not the commissioners will sign the letter of support is still up in the air.

“We (the commissioners) have not made any decision at this point as to what we’re doing. We’ve voiced our concerns, the engineer has voiced his concerns about some of the things they want to accomplish with this. At this point we’re still in the talking stage,” Crabtree said.

Scioto County Interim Economic Development Director Todd Book said the request has also been made to ODOT that certain projects be completed in addition to the bypass.

“The bypass goes through the Minford area and makes the airport a centerpiece of the bypass. But, yet our airport is only 5,100 feet long and we need it to be longer than that. One way to make that happen is to use the waste dirt from the construction can be taken to the airport and compacted properly so we are ready to extend that airport to a more usable length,” Book said. “Another issue that’s been put forward is, as this project moves forward, the interchange in Franklin Furnace where you have to exit left to enter Franklin Furnace needs to be rebuilt. That has been a problem for a longtime and to be able to open that area up for more development we need to build a new interchange and we’re requesting that be part of this discussion as well.”

For more information about the bypass, visit www.portsmouthbypass.com or call 888-819-8501, ext. 774-8834.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.