County enters road use agreement

Washington County Commissioners signed a Road Use Maintenance Agreement with EdgeMarc Energy Thursday, allowing the company the use of several county roads to remove drilling equipment.

The construction for the Merlin well pad in Salem Township was well under way in May, with drilling occurring over the last several weeks. The Pennsylvania-based company reached some roadblocks upon trying to get the drilling equipment out, said Commissioner David White.

“They can’t cross the bridge in Lower Salem,” he said. “They can’t get under the overpass in Whipple…so they’re stuck with their drilling rig.”

Roads that will be used to remove equipment include Pleasant Ridge Road (County 17), Moss Run Road (County 133), Stanleyville Road (County 42) and Dalzell Road (County 11), totaling 14.61 miles of roadway.

County Engineer Roger Wright said this is the second time EdgeMarc has used those roads, because of difficulties finding ways to move the drilling rig in.

“(They moved in equipment) without having a RUMA in place, with the understanding they would photojournal the road,” said Wright. “It was one large caravan over multiple days.”

That isn’t usually the norm, said Wright, adding that no damage had been done to the roads initially, but a RUMA had to be put in place if EdgeMarc was going to use the roads again.

Wright added that the roads shouldn’t be closed completely for the several days it will take to move equipment, but that would be determined by EdgeMarc’s maintenance plan.

“We basically told them, ‘You can’t close the rods for three days,'” Wright said. “They should temporarily close the road from one intersection to the next. I don’t anticipate major (traffic) impacts, but there will be some delay…(of) 15 minutes at the most.”

The route will go from County 11 to County 42, over to County 133 and County 17 before hitting Ohio 26.

EdgeMarc has put a $3.2 million bond up in case of road damages for getting the equipment out, particularly breaking down the edges, said Commission President Ron Feathers.

“They’re going to shut the road down to local traffic while they run those rigs down the middle of those roads to keep them off the edges, so that they don’t break the edges,” he said. “(Wright has) already worked out with them where they’re going to have traffic control…They’re going to be doing this over a period of several days, so it’s not going to be like a convoy train.”

Wright said there isn’t a set date for when the roads will be temporarily closed, but it could happen as early as August.

“They’ve been drilling for three weeks and are nearing completion,” Wright said. “It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but it’s going to happen relatively soon.”

In other business, the bid opening for repainting the County Home’s roof has been pushed back to 9:30 a.m. Aug. and the process reopened.

The original bids had the square footage of the roof around 28,000 feet but some measurements revealed it closer to 24,000 feet.

Clerk Rick Peoples said the information meant they should rebid the project.

“The revised specs showed 23,300 (square feet),” he said. “We pulled the project as originally published and advertised just because we had additional information we felt we should include.”

White said there shouldn’t be much change for the bids, except the material cost.

“I think any way you look at that, the number is approximate, whether it’s 23,500 or 28,000,” he said. “The square footage is not going to make a big difference.”