Engineer reports busy year for bridge projects

MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Engineer Paul Huelskamp, presenting his annual report regarding completed and upcoming road, bridge and other infrastructure projects, said 2018 was a busy year for bridge projects and 2019 will be the same.

This year, several of the county’s 342 bridges are set for replacement or rehabilitation.

Huelskamp said that, “2019 is going to be another big bridge year for us.”

Bridges on Fenner, Miami-Shelby and Sodom roads will be replaced this year. Another bridge on Range Line Road will be repaired with a micro-silica concrete overlay.

The Croft Mill Road bridge No. 0.37, an existing steel beam bridge, will be replaced with a galvanized truss bridge. The local share of $69,550 is about 5 percent of the project’s $1.3 million total. The rest will be federally funded, Huelskamp said.

The first of several large bridge projects in 2018 was the replacement of the Walnut Street bridge in Fletcher, Huelskamp said. The 110-year-old bridge was in bad shape and was replaced with a pre-cast concrete box culvert at a cost of $167,445, which was funded by the county’s bridge levy.

Another larger project was the replacement of a bridge on Greenville Falls-Clayton Road in Newberry Township at a cost of $237,937.

Huelskamp said the Engineer’s Office continues to rely heavily on the county’s bridge levy.

“We are one of only three counties that has a bridge levy. That money is so useful, not just for building the bridges, but for matching funds so we can get additional money,” he said.

In 2018, the county repaved 22.44 miles of roadway with asphalt at a cost of about $1.7 million, including 15.64 miles of roads that were last paved in the mid- to late 1990s. Approximately 4.25 miles of chip seal surface roads were upgraded to asphalt concrete.

Huelskamp noted that, with about 423.375 miles of county roadways, the county would need to pave about 42 miles a year to stay on a 10-year cycle.

In 2018, the county also performed 24 miles of patching work using Dura Patching, a mix of bitumen and gravel, as well as 11 miles of crack-sealing.

Future major projects for 2019 include the leveling and resurfacing of Ross Road from State Route 202 to State Route 201. The local share of the $350,000 project will be $98,000; the remaining amount will be paid for with funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

“On the financial side, there’s nothing really too outstanding as far as revenue goes. No big changes,” Huelskamp said.

Total revenue in 2018 was $8.9 million, compared to $9.4 million the year before. Much of the department’s funding is generated by gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees.

Total expenditures were $9.5 million, compared to $10.4 million in 2017. One major change was the price of road salt, which shot up 78 percent from last winter season, Huelskamp said. The price per ton for the 2018-19 winter season was $89.95, compared to last season’s price of $50.44 per ton.

In addition, the 2018-19 winter season lasted longer than the previous winter — from mid-November 2018 to early March 2019, compared to early December 2017 to early February 2018 — and county crews were called out on 35 different occasions for snow and ice control. Including equipment, salt and labor, this winter season cost $311,049, Huelskamp’s report said.

The county also replaced 68 culverts in 2018, the largest of which was the installation of 72 linear feet of concrete pipe on Kessler-Frederick Road at a cost of $28,032. In 2019, Huelskamp estimates replacing 50 or 60 culverts.

In 2019, in-house county crews will take over mowing, as costs have risen substantially, Huelskamp said. Last year’s contract with Quick Mow was for $76.86 per mile for a total of $97,765 and Huelskamp said the cost went up 10 percent for 2019.

“We have the equipment to be able to do that, so we decided to use our county crews this year,” he said. “We feel as though, at this price, it is cost effective for us to do the mowing.

The Engineer’s Office also installed a flashing beacon at the intersection of Peters and Kessler-Cowlesville roads and replaced 911 traffic signs. Of those signs, 214 were replaced due to traffic accidents, 102 due to vandalism and nine because of weather-related incidents.

By Cecilia Fox

Miami Valley Today

Reach Cecilia Fox at