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ANNUAL REPORT

OF THE

COUNTY ENGINEER

FOR THE YEAR

2001

 

            In accordance with the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code, I am hereby submitting to the Board of County Commissioners and Citizens of Ross County my annual report of the activities and accomplishments of the County Engineer’s office for the year 2001.   

           

            In many ways the events of September 11, 2001 seem to have heightened our sensitivities for our country and all the good things we had tended to take for granted.  Our considerations seem to take two forms funneled through one word, determination.

            We are determined not to let the mad acts of a handful of fanatics undermine our appreciation for all the good citizens of our county for whom we work, the people of the offices and departments with which we work, and all the associates that work in our own office. 

            That same determination is evident throughout the office that we will not let those tragic events keep us from doing the best we can at the tasks that are needed to serve the county.

            We are pursuing four large projects that require several years to develop.  All four are major in scope and need.  The combined cost of these projects, which are so important to safe, efficient travel and the economic well being of the area, totals almost $ 40 million. 

 

 S.R. 207 CONNECTOR

            This new roadway, connecting S.R. 104 / S.R. 207 to U.S. 23, will relieve traffic on Bridge Street (SR104) the most congested roadway in District Nine of the Ohio Department of Highways.  All the fieldwork has been completed and the final Environmental Documents have been submitted. Approval for this major phase is expected early 2002.

      The detailed plans, which are being done in-house, have been started for this 3.14 –mile, $25 million project.  There are four important structures, a Scioto River bridge, an overflow bridge in the floodplain, an underpass at the CSX Railroad and a bridge at the interchange with U.S. 23.

                                                                                                          

More about the S.R. 207 Connector

and the other large projects that are in the

plans at my office can be found on the pages

immediately following.

 

Partial list of contents found elsewhere:

Our 2001 bridge inspection report Progress on vital safety programs

A facelift for Musgrove Road Daylighting on Vigo Road

Seventeen new bridge replacements Major guardrail work Blain Highway

Safety and History.

 

                                                    MORE---207 CONNECTOR  

        This project has a Tier One status with the Transportation Review Advisory Committee (TRAC), which has awarded funding for late 2004.  Our goal is to have all plans completed so the right of way can

be purchased in 2003 and hopefully start construction at an earlier date.

S. R. 104 WIDENING

            This project starts at the interchange with U.S. 35 and extends 2.77 miles to the north entrance to the Veterans Administration Hospital.  I’m glad my office could provide the plans as the local share for the $ 9.8 million project.

            A well-attended Public Involvement Meeting was held in November and most of the fieldwork has been completed for the Environmental Document.

            This project continues in a Tier Two status with TRAC, which allows for plan submission, but at present no construction funding has been allocated.

  U. S. 50 - CONNECTOR

MISSION STATEMENT

            To construct a new roadway as per the Thoroughfare Plan enacted by the City of Chillicothe and Ross County in 1998 between U.S. 50 and Pleasant Valley Road.

            This roadway should be designed to accommodate the legal speed limit with as few access points as feasible.

            There shall be traffic signals at both ends to accommodate the heavy turn movements.

 

THE MISSION BEGINS

            Planning was started in 2001 for this much needed U. S. 50 Connector.  Several possible routes have been studied.  A public meeting will be held early in 2002 to receive public comment for this locally funded project.

            It is anticipated plans will be available early in 2003, and depending on the local economy construction could begin that year.

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CHARLESTON PIKE BRIDGE

 

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Plans have been submitted for review of a major rehab of this 1299’ Scioto River Bridge, which opened in 1972. 

The work will consist of removing two inches from the deck surface and replacing it with microsilica concrete, which will serve as a water barrier.

The parapets (walls) will be epoxy painted for visibility and moisture sealing, the steel beams will be painted and lighting similar to that on the new Bridge Street Bridge will be added.

This project cost of over $1.5 million will be financed entirely with Federal Gas Tax funds.

            The sale (bidding) date for the Rehab Project is planned for late in 2002 and construction will be done in 2003. 

 

 

 

ABOUT FUNDING THE PROJECTS 

There’s a lot of money involved, almost $40 million, in these four large projects, but a glance back at the funding source in each case reveals that most of the cost for three of them has federal dollars already committed or planning has been for federal dollars. 

                        A similar quick look at the numbers on our budget page will give you a feel how we work to get federal and State Issue Two funds to finance needed projects with as little impact as possible on local dollars. 

A $2.16 MILLION PAVING PROGRAM

            We had a measure of trepidation concerning cost this year when we put together the bid package to surface roads for the county, townships and villages, but to the relief of all the prices per ton were down considerably from last year when high crude oil prices were a factor.

            We were able to do 40.55 miles on the county system where we like to be as it keeps us on the preferred ten-year cycle balancing a good life expectancy and economics to keep good surfaces on the 395 miles of road we maintain.  The total bid came in at $2.16 million by the Shelley Company indicating the bidding partnership between various entities helps us all get a better deal for our money.

            Sections of eighteen roads on the county system were in the package including Musgrove, Watson, Sullivan, Whetstone, West Junction, Trego Creek, Jones Levee, Maple Grove, Rapid Forge, Fairgrounds Road, Concord Church, Musgrove, Sugar Run, Trego Creek, Possum Hollow, Clinton, Moxley and Pricer Ridge. 

            Congratulations to township and village residents on the leadership in their offices.  In regards to those leaders all of us try to have culvert and other necessary cuts done before paving to minimize damage to a new surface, and we’re glad to help when we bid for and order various materials to prepare for the paving contractor.

 

NEW LIFE FOR MUSGROVE ROAD

            A major workover was completed this past summer on Musgrove Road, an important artery in the southeastern part of the county.  The route work included bridge replacements, replacement of substandard culverts, raising the intersection with Vigo Road, new guardrail, new signs, and new paving.

           

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Photo left above: Musgrove at Vigo Road before major intersection raising and sightline improvement.

Photo right above: a new aluminum/steel pipe, complete with piling to control erosion, has replaced a bridge.     

 

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When paving and bermwork, as shown at left, is all done it feels pretty good just to look and take a bit of satisfaction in the both the appearance and knowledge a road will have little need for attention beyond mowing and trimming for ten years.

The culvert and bridges are of space age materials either aluminized/steel, plastic or hot dipped galvanized steel that are long-lived and require little or no maintenance, and will last far beyond the time paving will be needed again.

 

            The traffic on this road will change considerably when construction on the new Scioto Valley K-12 School on the Lancaster Pike is completed.  A share of it will be school buses and other school traffic, and with the renewal work finished it is in a good state of readiness for that traffic. 

            Look at the item concerning bridge inspection and bridges for a little more about the truss bridge that had to be replaced on Musgrove. 

ROAD MAINTENANCE SUPPLIES

            Another area of common cooperation with townships and villages is supply purchases, and it’s not a small item considering the variety and quantity of materials needed.  Advanced Drainage Systems was low bidder on almost eight thousand feet of plastic culvert ranging in sizes from one foot to four feet in diameter.  That’s almost and mile-and-a-half of pipe going in twenty feet at a time.  Their bid was low at a little over $63 thousand, while Contech Construction came in low on the aluminized steel culvert.  That ranged in size up to 112 inches in diameter.  The bid on the 360 feet needed for the various jobs amounted to almost $18,000. 

             The life expectancy on these modern high-tech products far exceeds all the older types.

KEEPING WINTER AT BAY

            Our bid cost for ice and snow control salt has been slowly creeping up, but this year, the creep became a jump.  Morton Salt was low out of six firms bidding at a cost of $36.65 per ton.  That cost per ton is up from $29.43 in 1999 and $31.32 in 2000.  Even at that number early bidding saved us considerably over what some entities had to pay.

Needless to say a mild winter won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.  We operate 12 snow and ice control routes on county roads.  With outstanding cooperation from the townships to shorten response time for them and us, we have storage at eight locations around the county.  The remote storage gets our and township drivers back on the roads needing attention more quickly than if they had to make a long run to the garage site to reload. 

            For maximum effectiveness the salt is mixed with grits in a three grits to one salt ratio.

TWO NEW TRUCKS PURCHASES

            To continue fleet reliability we added two new trucks during the year.  Center City International, the low bidder on the state bids, was the supplier and the vehicles featured the larger engine we’ve found to be necessary particularly for the hillier parts of the county.  Ace Truck supplied the bodies from that same state bid. 

            The new trucks feature many safety factors to benefit other traffic and the operator, and also came with snowplows and the spinner sanders that essentially allows the operator to treat ice and snow control in almost half the time by doing two lanes at a pass.  The bid cost amounted to $69,000. 

IT’S IN THE COMPUTER

Our computerized maintenance program allows us to see when a piece of equipment or vehicle, such as a truck, is becoming a liability, and no longer cost effective for fulltime work on 395 miles of roads and 410 bridges.  The end of the year report showed maintenance costs totaling $116,088. 

That’s a lot of money, but with a small staff we rely heavily on our equipment and trucks.  Hence sometimes it makes more sense to replace and item than to do many costly repairs.  

            The computer program quickly points to items that need attention, and preventative maintenance is easily scheduled which minimizes costly downtime.         

 

 

A MUCH SAFER VIGO ROAD

If this Vigo Road photo looks as though you might be driving through a barrel; you should have seen it before we started the clearing on the right side of the road.

            The clearing shown here is just the start of a major safety enhancement for a portion of this frequently traveled road.   The traffic includes seven school buses twice a day for the students of the Scioto Valley School District.

            Safety first could be our motto; it is always our first consideration, and never more so than when it involves busloads of children.

            Musgrove Road intersects Vigo at this location and drivers from it had a poor sightline to exit onto Vigo.  A portion of the clearance work started while Musgrove was being readied for a new surface and other improvements. 

 

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The difference in the appearance is startling, but the difference in safe travel is just as much so.  The high bank, and tree infringement limited visibility for drivers, and the cover also allowed the road surface to retain moisture or a thin film of frost until around midday. 

            The level of improvement in the sightline is as remarkable as some others we’ve done in recent years such as SR 180 at Sulphur Spring near Zane Trace School and Williamsport Pike at SR 104.   

            The cooperation of the landowners and utilities were vital to this project.

            Thanks are owed to three property owners for this project.  Cooperation was readily given by Dick Strausbaugh and Bob Drake on the east, right side in the bottom photo, while the same was true for Rick Tatman on the west, left side of the bottom photo. 

            The water, telephone, and cable utilities also marked lines and a cable was removed.  The help of community spirited people contributes so much to our ability to do many of our projects throughout the county. It means a lot and is appreciated.

 

 

NEEDED CHANNEL WORK COMPLETED

 The Natural Resources Conservation Service has completed a major improvement in the channel alignment of the North Fork of Paint Creek where it crosses under Polk Hollow Road, shortly upstream from its confluence with Paint Creek.

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The bend in the channel was slowing the current flow causing erosion of the bank toward the road surface and allowing debris to collect as it neared the Polk Hollow Bridge.

 Resources Conservation under District Conservationist, Doug Pauley, engineered and contracted the project to Wehrum Brother’s Excavating, low bidder at a little over $100 thousand. Our office paid $15 thousand and the Scioto Township Trustees paid $10 thousand of the cost.

 The Trustees also gained a better outlet for their roadside ditch and added protection for their roadway. 

 

 

 

The Improvements included a major moving of fill from the stream and other locations as needed to reconstruct the banks in a better line.

 Stone riprap was put into place to stop bank washing.  The photo right shows the work completed on the north side of the stream.

 Some attention was devoted to the downstream side of the bridge, but not quite as much was required as to the north.

 With the new alignment tree and brush deposits on the banks and under the bridge should be greatly reduced, saving us time and money. 

 The Natural Resources Conservation Service has aided the county and townships numerous times along our collective roads.  In each instance the projects have help protect and extend the life of the roads.

 

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BRIDGE MATERIALS BID

            In many instances to bridge smaller streams we’ve gone to Precast Concrete Boxes rather than beam bridges. The change has been made for a number of reasons.  The concrete boxes are low maintenance for many years, inexpensive by comparison, and traveler inconvenience is lessened by a shorter installation time. 

We used that kind of replacement this season for ten structures ranging in length up to sixty feet. 

            The low bidder for these materials delivered to the site was Scioto Valley Precast of Ross County at a cost of $148,679.

            That same supplier also provided our Prestress Concrete Beams for five bridge structures at a bid cost of just a bit over $64,150.                                                                                                             

 

 Two Bridge decks on Piney Creek Road were replaced by county forces using galvanized steel and flooring provided by Ohio Bridge Corporation at a bid price of $58,050. 

The severity of the skew (angle) called for the elasticity and strength of steel at the pointed end near the lower right of the photo.

With the galvanized steel plus moisture seal you wind up with a long-lived bridge that will serve travelers there for many years.     

 

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2001 BRIDGE INSPECTION

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Our annual Bridge Inspection program is a task we take very seriously, but which has gotten a little easier the last few years with many of the deficient and obsolete structures replaced. We still have to inspect all the Ohio Revised code designates for inspection including 410 for which we also have maintenance responsibility, plus 22 railroad bridges for which the owner line has maintenance responsibility.  

The bridge on Schooley Station Road at left got more inspection than normal after an errant car traveling on Calver Lane went through the east end.  It had been rated for legal loads, but even with emergency repairs to get it open, it became number eight on the restricted load list with a limit of twelve tons.  Others are on Charleston Pike, Anderson Station, Hess Lane, Pleasant Valley, Chapel Creek, Bushmill, and the covered bridge on Lower Twin.  A map showing the locations is available by calling the office.

BRIDGE MODERNIZATION PROGRAM

            Seventeen deficient and/or obsolete bridges were replaced during the year, sixteen of those by the Road Maintenance section of our office.  The other on Musgrove Road, a truss structure where that road crosses Walnut Creek, was bid and erected by Ohio Bridge of Cambridge, Ohio at a cost of $225,367. 

 

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When the 115-foot trusses were being set on the new abutments everyone was checking to make sure there was adequate room for the metal to expand and contract.

            The crane needed to set the trusses was so large it took almost as long to set it up as to lift the trusses themselves across the stream.

            This bridge is one of thirty-four on the Ohio Department Transportation inventory for Ross County that are over one hundred feet long, the most of any county in this district.  That report says: eleven of the 34 are over 300 feet, three over 800 feet, two over 900 feet and one over 1,200 feet.

            The new bridge will blend in nicely with the total makeover of Musgrove Road, and will help serve the new Scioto Valley K-12 School nearby on Lancaster Pike.

 

           

The new bridge reflects the latest in metal protection with hot dipped galvanizing that features a minimum thirty-five year warranty, and can be taken back to the plant for repeat treatment when the need arises.  That would amount to a considerable savings over a total replacement.

            The installation of this bridge and the other sixteen mentioned brings to a total of TWO HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE of the bridges on our county system that are 17 years old or less.

 

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With all the appeal of a shiny new bridge one of the older bridges on our system has even more in the eyes of some lovers of history.  A stone arch bridge on Falls Road probably dates to shortly after 1900.  

            Examples of this type of construction dates, in some instances to 300 a.d., and this one shows little sign of needing replacement.  It features beautiful workmanship and great eye appeal.                                                                                                               

A MAJOR GUARDRAIL PROJECT

 

Blain Highway is an important well-traveled route between U S 50, SR 772, and U S 23 in the western part of the county.  The stretch just south of Route 50 where Blain winds up out of Paint Creek Valley is particularly picturesque.  The photo right is looking south from U S 50 where the new guardrail project started.  A car in the distance marks where the road crosses Paint Creek and starts its climb up the hills in the distance. 

            The new guardrail project covered six miles from U. S. 50 to the intersection of SR 772.  The section from there to U. S. 23 was done in 1991.

            The $200 thousand cost of the project was paid from federal funds, which with the $1.5 million in federal money spent on the new bridge completed in 2000, adds up to a lot of expensive work with little impact on local budgets.   ODOT bid the contract, and performed the required inspections. 

 

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The old guardrail was showing the effects of its age, and did not meet all the latest standards for height and type of ends specified in the regulations.  The project called for 9,237 feet of type # 5 rail with blockouts installed to present state and federal standards.

The project was done by the M. P. Dorey Company with the work completed in the latter part of October. 

Normally that’s about the time of the year for the Bainbridge Fall Festival of Leaves, and company workers were treated to some of the fall’s best color when the contract first started.

 

We strive to put guardrail at areas that have a sharp drop-off near the edge of the road or where there are certain types of impact hazards such as bridges.      

            The photo at right shows the new rail as it approaches the same curve as above.  Blain Highway has a good surface, a new bridge over Paint Creek, and now is safer.  Enjoy the drive.

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SAFETY & HISTORY ON ONE ROAD

            We’re always glad when we can do a major federally funded project such as that on Blain Highway, but work goes on where needed on other county roads by our forces.  Another such project accomplished in 2001 requiring a lot of posts and guardrail was done on Little Creek Road between SR 28 at Lattaville and Frankfort. 

As so often is the case as we work our way around our roads we find historical reminders of the role Ross County has played in the development not only this area but also the whole state.

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The photo left shows one of several sites where new rail was being installed to meet present height requirements and profiles.

 

The photo right shows another site for new rail to be installed, but also shows a sign in the short background marking the location of the historic Concord Presbyterian Church (Established in 1805). The Church, with a compassionate congregation and community was an important stop along the road and the Underground Railroad for blacks fleeing the horrors of slavery, one of several such routes in the proud history of our county.  image057.jpg (12333 bytes)

 

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The fašade of the church is shown left and below a small map showing the approximate site with a blue star and some other routes in the county.

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THREE IMPORTANT SAFETY PROGRAMS

 Mowing

Signs of the seasons are as varied as the nature of people.  Many people enjoy seeing the first Robin of the year as an indication that spring is not far behind. 

At the Engineer’s Office it’s safe to assume spring is not far behind when our Vehicle Maintenance team is seen tuning, shining, and lining up the tractors and mowers for that part of our right of way care program.

 The five tractors and mowers in the photo in 2001made what would be the equivalent to an annual trek to the Pacific Ocean and back.   We have 395 miles of right of way and of course each side has to be done, in many instances several passes are necessary.  Each of the five routes is run an average of five to six times in order to keep noxious weeds and grasses from interfering with visibility, and from spreading to our neighbor’s yards and fields.

We ask the traveling public to watch for their signs and tractors, we’re concerned about your and the operator’s safety. 

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 Tree Trimming

Another critical right of way maintenance job is keeping dead and overhanging material from being a traffic hazard in strong winds. 

The chainsaws and shredders in some places accomplished almost miracles on some of our roads in the past year.  Included were large efforts on Vigo and Narrows Roads. 

The work on Vigo Road, as a part of that sightline improvement effort shown elsewhere in this report, required many hours of dedicated effort, but combined with the reshaping of the landscape made a world of difference.

 

                       SIGNAGE                                                                  

Our sign program involves maintenance of over four thousand traffic control and guidance devices in place on our roads.  Each is installed under rigid regulation as to type, height, placement and shape.  We try to make the signs be as helpful as possible.  Our Advance Road Name Sign is not required, but they are a particular aid to a person unfamiliar with a route and wishing to turn onto another road.  

 We consider our mowing, tree trimming and sign programs as three important efforts to contribute to safe, trouble free travel on our roads. 

 

  GIS UPD ATE

            The Geographic Information System (GIS) has been labeled at times as the planning tool of this millennium, and as it continues to unfold with added potential under Director Greg Rouse the label seems even more apt.  Progress in 2001 included adding parcel lines throughout most of the county, major progress on two other high profile projects, identification of lands in the Current Agriculture Use Value (CAUV) program and the Soils Identification program.  Both of the latter should be completed in early 2002.

The parcel line program is easily accessible in a user-friendly system, which is in itself remarkable considering there are nearly 39,000 parcels in the county.   

The parcels program can be reached through the Ross County website, which features most of the offices, at www.co.ross.oh.us/ and clicking on Auditor. 

If you wish you can go directly to the Parcel Lines at www.co.ross.oh,us/auditor .

            Planners have also been particularly interested in seeing the Soils Program come on line.

            Exploration is ongoing on another tool of high potential called Intelligent Centerlines that would be of great value to planners, residents and emergency service agencies.  

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            Almost anything with a road centerline measurement can be plotted into the program.  Some items could include school speed limit zones and geo-located addresses for planning and fast 9-1-1 assistance.  For example directions to the property driveway marked by the asterisk on the map could be given to an emergency squad down to as close as a foot.

            All county highway infrastructure items can be similarly located which would obviously be of considerable benefit for planning and maintenance purposes.   The public would benefit as well by being able to just dial to get information on load restrictions, traffic control devices, speed limits, and traffic counts.    

                                                        PROPERTY CHANGES & TRANSFERS UP

            Conventional Property transfers in the Real Estate Office and our CourthouseRoom were  up in number up some months perhaps inversely  following the downward annoucements              concerning the prime interest rate. May was the highest month with 193 while January started the year with 117.                                                                                                                                

                                                                        

Total property conveyances for the year 2001 was 1753 in that category and 1480 in the exempt category, which is somewhat less volatile.  The numbers for the year reflected significant work for those offices.

 

HELP IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED

 

 The County Engineer’s Office appreciates everyone’s help. We hope you will contact us if you have suggestions or if we can be of assistance.    

 1. Tel.----Fairgrounds Road Office ……………. (740) 702-3130

                Administrative. Office fax #  …………(740) 702-3135            

2. Tel.----Engineer’s Courthouse Map Room ….. (740) 702-3136

                 Map Room fax #  ……………………..(740) 702-3137

 3. Our e-mail address is ……………..         roscoeng@bright.net         

             4.  U.S. Mail …. Ross County Engineer

                                         755 Fairgrounds Road

                                         P.O. Box 458

                                         Chillicothe, OH  465601

 

We’RE PLEASED OUR WEBSITE “ WORK SCHEDULE” IS A HELP

            Public response, particularly in construction season, shows we’ve helped drivers avoid delays.   We schedule projects at the least disruptive times, but some jobs by their nature do cause traffic flow problems.  In those instances, we try to post notices as early and concisely as possible to reduce delays and minimize hazards.  On our “site” we also display other data and information about office activities.

Look for us on the web at----------WWW.ROSCOENG.COM .

                                                                                      MISSION STATEMENT

ROSS COUNTY ENGINEER

Our mission is to serve the people of Ross County by planning, building, and maintaining a safe, efficient, accessible transportation system that will foster economic growth and personal travel. We will be open to requests, questions, and suggestions from all people of the county, other government agencies, officials, and staff.  We will work with all governmental entities to seek and coordinate the funding of maintenance and new construction for the best highway system possible. 

 We will do everything in our power, and in the power of the Global Positioning Satellite System (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS), to provide the most accurate possible records of all properties in the county.    

 

FUNDING IN 2001

 

Ohio County Engineers rely principally on two sources of income.  The largest is on the sale of motor vehicle licenses.  The second largest is from the state tax on gasoline sales.  The graph below shows these and other sources of income.  

You will note as well some general fund dollars for the Courthouse Map Room.  No property tax dollars go to maintenance of roads and bridges!    

We are pleased we’ve been able to lighten the demand on the local taxes with the use of federal and State Issue Two funds.  Well over $20 million obtained from federal sources and over $8 million from Issue Two have been real boosts to our programs in recent years, and another $22.5 million is earmarked for our SR 207 Connector project. 

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CLOSING THOUGHTS

            A look back at the accomplishments for the year 2001 gives me a good feeling about the amount and quality of the work done.  Credit is owed to the care and dedication of the staff in all parts of the office from Road Maintenance to Engineering, Administration, and Map Room.  I want to extend my thanks to all the personnel respectively, as well to the other offices and the public.

 

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Don E. Carnes, P.E., P.S.                   

Ross County Engineer

 

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