FRANKLIN FURNACE — For some time now, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman have had differing opinions on who owns and maintains a section of guardrail in Franklin Furnace.
“The guardrail is on Jr. Furnace Powellsville Road and has several degrees of deterioration. For the past couple of years, we’ve been attempting to get ODOT to accept responsibility for it, because we do not feel it’s ours to maintain,” Opperman said.
In the pursuit of getting ODOT to accept responsibility for the guardrail, Opperman said he identified an Attorney General’s opinion that stated, “If an approach roadway is built by the state as part of an interstate or state highway system, it is the responsibility of the state agency to maintain the roadway that was created.”
“In this particular situation, the road is on a new alignment where Jr. Furnace Powellsville Road used to be. It (Jr. Furnace Powellsville Road) was realigned when they built the new U.S. 52,” Opperman said.
Opperman sent an opinion to the Scioto County Prosecutor’s office agreed which the opinion and sent the issue to the chief legal counsel for ODOT, who concurred with Opperman’s opinion.
“Through that process ODOT chief legal counsel identified to the district (ODOT District 9), they are responsible for it and are to replace and repair the rail as necessary,” Opperman said.
He said the current guardrail is in bad shape.
Earlier this week, the Scioto County Commissioners signed an agreement with ODOT to include the guardrail in question in its 2016 project schedule for Scioto County.
“We’re going to install the guardrail as a part of our district wide guardrail project that will likely sell (go out to bid) sometime this spring. That project will likely unfold during the summer,” said Kathleen Fuller, ODOT District 9 spokeswoman.
Fuller said, its anticipated work on the district wide guardrail project will take place over the summer.
Opperman that he’s seeking an opinion from ODOT legal council on who’s responsible for the bridge that enjoins the embankment where the guardrail is located.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT