Aerial mapping projects discussed

The cities of Marietta and Belpre will be joining with Washington County to update aerial mapping of the county this year. The total cost of the project is $89,000.

“Our cost will be $8,000 and Belpre will also pay $8,000. The rest will be covered by the county,” Councilman Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward, said following a joint session of city council’s finance and streets and transportation committees Thursday.

He said the last aerial mapping of the county was done in 2006.

“At that time the pixel resolution was 12 inches, but this time it will be down to 6 inches,” McCauley added.

The photography has to be completed before area trees have full leaves, he said, noting legislation approving the aerial mapping agreement with the county will be introduced during city council’s next regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 in the community building at Lookout Park.

In other business Thursday the city engineer’s office announced plans to seek a $60,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission that would be used to repair a landslip near the intersection of Bellevue and Lancaster streets on Harmar Hill.

McCauley said if the grant is awarded the city would be required to provide $15,000 in matching funds.

Legislation approving that grant application will also be introduced during next week’s council meeting.

Also on Thursday, Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward asked the Marietta Traffic Commission to consider increasing the speed limit on the city’s portion of Groves Avenue, near the intersection with Gilman Avenue, from 25 mph to 35 mph.

He said the speed limit on the upper portion of Groves Avenue, which intersects with Ohio 676, is posted at 35 mph.

“This places a burden on drivers traveling down Groves Avenue who have to slow to 25 mph as they approach the bottom of the grade,” Vukovic said. “And when vehicles are climbing the hill they should be able to build some momentum in order to reach the top.”

Traffic commission member Willa O’Neill said she lives on Harmar Hill and often travels along Groves Avenue on her way to and from home.

“It’s almost impossible to suddenly slow down to 25 mph as you approach the bottom of that hill,” she said.

Traffic commission chairman Mike Scales asked the other commission members to consider Vukovic’s request and bring any recommendations back to the next commission meeting.

He noted the portion of Groves Avenue that lies within the city limits could be considered a through-street that would qualify for a 35 mph limit.

Tina Lones, engineering department office manager, said the city ordinance setting speed limits would have to be changed by council in order to increase the limit on Groves Avenue.