MILLERSBURG -- Noting that safety of its citizens is the No. 1 priority of government, the Holmes County Commissioners on Monday, June 12, voted to approve a resolution to improve the intersection of U.S. Route 62 and County Road 160, and Township Road 1025 in Winesburg.
The resolution allows for the alteration, widening, straightening, vacating or changing the direction of roads at the intersection of Route 62 and County Road 160 in Paint Township, Winesburg.
In addition, Township Road 1025, known as Vintage Avenue, will be terminated at the intersection of County Road 160.
The proposed improvement will involve horizontal and vertical curve corrections, realignment, intersection widening, realignment safety and traffic flow improvements, all done for public convenience or welfare.
The commissioners held a public viewing at the site on Monday, June 5, where public testimony was taken for and against the project.
A special assessment is not to be levied or collected to pay any part of improvement and authorized expenditure of funds by the county.
"I think the biggest thing is the safety factor of that whole project," said Commissioner Ray Eyler. "With the amount of truck traffic going down that road and making that turn onto 62, anything that can improve that is going to help."
"I believe it's a safety issue and I believe in the project," Commissioner Rob Ault added. "I think it's going to help the whole community with the truck traffic and the vehicles that go down through that intersection."
"These things are always controversial," said Commissioner Joe Miller. "I've been involved in a lot of improvements we didn't have to vote on because the state was doing them. There's always people opposed to these things; but when the project is done, they love them and wonder why they didn't do it sooner.
"My emails and phone calls about the project in Winesburg have been going about 20 to 1 in favor of it," Miller continued. "I have received many, many, many phone calls and only one has been negative. We are thankful that we can do this project."
Ault pointed out that this project has been on the to-do list for quite some time.
"There are many projects that we have safety issues with that we have been working on," he said. "This has been on the list for a while."
Miller noted that the commissioners are acting for the greater good of the county.
"The biggest challenge we have is our infrastructure," he said. "We have 2.7 unemployment. We have tremendous growth here. We've got to provide infrastructure, not just for now, but for 10, 20, 30 years down the road."
County Engineer Chris Young said he appreciates the commissioners' support of the project.
"No. 1, we wouldn't have got the funds if it wasn't a safety issue," Young said. "I myself have had multiple phone calls in favor of the project. I really think it will be safer when we're done. It's a good opportunity for us and I'm looking forward to building it."
Eyler added that all the commissioners received supportive phone calls regarding this project.
"Our No. 1 responsibility is our people's safety and welfare," Ault said.
Dowling, Case Farms and Eli Wengerd are putting some private money up, which made it easier to procure the grant for the project that is expected to get underway in July.
Young says paperwork has to be in place, then a property acquisition needs to done, and then it will go out for bid. The engineer expects the project to be completed in three months.
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or email@example.com.