County investing nearly $5M in road projects this year

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Pigeon Gap Road will be closed for nearly three months for bridge replacement

Guernsey County Engineer Paul Sherry has released the highway department’s project list for 2021 that includes bridge replacement, road reconstruction, resurfacing and preventative maintenance. It represents nearly $5 million worth of road construction reinvested in the county’s infrastructure.

“A few sunny days really brings some excitement for the construction season to begin,” said Sherry. “And, we will be conducting a wide variety of projects throughout the county.”

A bridge replacement project that was slated for 2023 has been moved up to this year along with several projects that were delayed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Sherry.

The project will result in Pigeon Gap Road being closed for approximately three months.

“We will be advertising for bids in May and expect construction to start in the fall,” said Sherry.

Guernsey County commissioners on Monday approved advertising for bids for the estimated $675,000 project.

A significant change for the highway department this year will be relocating the crew from the Middlebourne outpost to the Cambridge location — a move the engineer believes will help improve service countywide.

“Despite our employees’ best efforts, the mileage of roads under their care was just too much to maintain a satisfactory operational level,” said Sherry. This change will create a larger pool of people to select from and create the size of the work groups needed to complete the priority tasks countywide.

“This will also balance our resources to more efficiently serve all parts of the county,” added Sherry.

The Middlebourne outpost will still be used to store materials and equipment.

The engineer’s office added staff last year to reduce its dependency on consultants and reduce overall expenses.

“We are now realizing significant savings in the preparation of design specifications, plans, contracts and inspections,” Sherry said. “We was able to perform the work in-house allowing staff to develop projects more quickly and provide better services at a much lower cost.”

On the roads, work planned for the spring includes approximately 80 miles of grader ditching throughout the county.

“During this process, sections of roads will be closed for a few hours but, it is very important to the longevity of any road,” said Sherry.

The grading and shaping of these roads over an estimated two-month span will result in a better product for travelers. The work is scheduled to start mid-May.

Crews will also be resurfacing, micro surfacing, crack and seal surfacing or double seal with a cold mix paving on more than 18 miles of roadways in the county.

The following is a look at various projects:

  • Resurfacing High Hill/Georgetown Road (Claysville Road to Cambridge corp. limit), 5.67 miles.
  • Resurfacing Fairground Road (County Home Road to Cadiz Road), 6.33 miles.
  • Micro surfacing Byesville Road (Oakwood Road to Cambridge corp. limit), 2.78 miles.
  • Micro surfacing Oakwood Road (Hope Avenue (Byesville) to Byesville Road), 0.83 mile.
  • Crack seal on Larrick Ridge Road (Old National Road to Cadiz Road), 3.05 miles.
  • Crack seal on Skyline Drive (Fairdale Road to College Hill Road), 2.52 miles.
  • Crack seal on Fairdale Drive (Glenn Highway to Skyline Drive), 0.94 mile.
  • Crack seal on Prophecy Road (Glenn Highway to Fairdale Drive), 0.07 mile.
  • Double seal/cold mix paving on Range Road (Leatherwood Road to County Home Road), 3.26 miles.
  • Double seal/cold mix paving on Frankfort Road (Osborne Road to south of Easton Road), 2.88 miles.
  • Double seal/cold mix paving on Happydale Road (Vocational Road to Primrose Lane), 2.71 miles.
  • Double seal/cold mix paving on Greendale Road (Ideal Road to Happydale Road), 1.71 miles.
  • Double seal/cold mix paving on Christian Hill Road (Route 660 to start of pavement), 1.55 miles.
  • Double seal/cold mix paving on Sugar Grove Road (Route 660 to Claysville Road), 2.49 miles.
  • Double seal/cold mix paving on Patch Road (Rough & Ready Road to I-70 bridge), 2.06 miles.
  • Double seal/cold mix paving on Sampson Road (Cadiz Road to Tedrick Road), 1.40 miles.

With crews busy working on local roadways, the county has hired Quick Mowing Inc. of Millersburg for countywide mowing services on right of ways during 2021. Guernsey County commissioners approved the contract on Monday after the company submitted a bid of $187,854.

“It takes between 100 and 120 work days for us to make one round of the more than 800 miles that needs covered,” Sherry said. “This results in most of the roads looking overgrown for most of the summer. By bringing in a professional mowing crew, we will have all the roads mowed an unprecedented three times throughout the growing season.”

County crews will continue to use long-reach boom mowers to keep woody vegetation from having over roads and mow areas directly along the roadway.

“This process is not going to change,” added Sherry. “The roadside mowing was the problem. This will free up crews to focus on the ditching, patching, tree removal, and other road repairs throughout the county.”

Sherry is pleased the county will have nearly $5 million worth of road construction reinvested in the county’s infrastructure in 2021.

“Our goal is to complete projects that will lower the regular maintenance cost and allow our operators to address areas that have been neglected,” he said.

The county hopes to finish slip repairs pending since 2019 due to funds pending from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We are optimistic that FEMA will release these funds soon, allowing us to advertise and prepare the bid packages,” Sherry said.

The engineer hopes to have more to report on those projects by the summer months.

“This has been a slow and tedious process,” he said.

Sherry encourages residents with questions to contact the engineer’s office, 740-432-2234, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.