County spending $2.5 million on roads

The Brown County Engineer’s Office is busy with about $2.5 million in road and bridge work.

“We went after the bridges kind of aggressively this year.  We’ve been kind of doing a good bit of paving in years past and not as aggressive on bridges,” said Brown County Engineer Todd Cluxton.

Cluxton said that five box culverts and two bridges have been completed already, with two more bridge projects in the works.  The total cost for the projects is about $575,000.

The completed bridges are on Staten Road and Stephan Road.

The box culverts are on Elm Corner Road, Rickey Road, Miller Ernst Road, Free Road and Sicily Road.

The two bridge projects still underway are on Tom Shaw Road and Day Road.

Cluxton said that three other bridge projects are in the planning phase for next year.  A $600,000 project on Pierce Road is scheduled as well as a $650,000 project over Bullskin Creek on Skiffsville Road.

Another project is the North Pole Covered Bridge Bypass.

“We are in the right of way acquisition phase for that project right now,” Cluxton said.

The budget for that project is $1.6 million, with eighty percent paid with federal dollars and the county paying the other twenty percent.

The state is paying for eighty percent of both projects, with the engineers office and local townships splitting the remaining cost.

Cluxton said that the county is still feeling the effect of the flash flooding last summer.

“Last year, with the damage we had from the storm in July, we didn’t get to do our paving, so I bumped that back to this year,” Cluxton said.

The county is spending $920,000 on paving this year on two major projects.  The first is repaving old 68 from Highway 52 in Ripley to the Georgetown corporation limit.

“The rest of that contract is for the widening of Day Hill-Arnheim Road.  We’ve been out there widening the shoulders and moving the guard rail back.  We are trying to take that to a twenty foot wide pavement all the way through from 125 all the way up to the center of Arnheim, and that’s 5.32 miles long,” Cluxton said.

“We’ve also replaced 36 culvert pipes this summer and that’s about half of what we want to get done this year.”

Cluxton said that the damage from the 2015 flash flooding was expensive.

“We are going to end up spending about $512,000 on repair projects from last summer’s storm.  We will be reimbursed $426,000 from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency when it’s all said and done.”

He added that paving and bridges aren’t the only things being worked on this summer.

“We’ve bought some new equipment and some new mowers.  We’ve gotten our mowing fleet up to eight tractors that are out mowing.  We used to try to do that with four, so we’ve doubled our mowing fleet over the past four or five years,” Cluxton said.

He said that he was glad to finally check some long term projects off of his “to do” list.

“The bridges we’re real excited about because some have needed work for several years.  It’s nice to be in a position where we can afford to take care of the local match and get some of these projects completed.”

Cluxton said that he’s always looking to get as much done with as few dollars as possible.

“Our budget is about $4.3 million and has been that way for about ten years.  That sounds like a lot of money, but when you start building bridges and spending a million dollars a year in paving, plus pay salaries and everything else, it goes pretty fast,” Cluxton said.

He added that he is always willing to share his plans with anyone who asks.

“The public is always welcome to come in and ask questions and talk about their concerns.  My door is always open,” Cluxton said.

“We look at all the bridges and roads at a minimum on a yearly basis.  We prioritize as best we can to stretch our limited dollars as far as we can.”