Washington County Commissioners signed off on a Roadway Use, Repair and Maintenance Agreement (RUMA) with Triad Hunter, LLC on Thursday.
The RUMA concerns Aurelius Township Road 305. The agreement is for 1.71 miles, from Ohio 821 to the Washington County line.
County Engineer Roger Wright said there are pre-project improvements Triad is going to complete on the road, such as widening it and adding gravel. He added that if Triad wouldn't have agreed to the improvements before starting its well drilling project, the company would have had to put up a $200,000 bond.
"If they'll build the road up, then they avoid the bond issue," Wright said, adding that the bond is simply to "protect the county to make sure the road doesn't get destroyed" during drilling operations where oil and gas traffic is increased.
Wright said oftentimes during pre-project improvements, companies will do geotech analyses of the roads, which involves taking core samples. He said this is most often done on asphalt roads, and Township Road 305 is gravel with patches of chip and seal, which makes the analysis a little redundant.
"You've got gravel and some dirt," Wright said, but added that a core sample could be taken to see what else was under the gravel, such as clay or limestone.
He said the road would be widened and ditched, and quite a bit of gravel would be added.
"At the end of the day...it's going to be a better road than it was before," he said.
Jim Denny, Triad Hunter's president and chief operating officer, said operations should begin around mid-April.
In other business, the county entered into an agreement with Woolpert Inc. for digital imagery services.
The service is a part of new GIS (geographic information system) mapping which will improve resolution on future maps.
"It's going to allow greater resolution for property lines to be determined," said Commission President Ron Feathers.
He said the previous resolution was about four feet, which will been taken down to around a six-inch accuracy.
Feathers said the county is paying a portion but so is the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the County Engineer, the County Auditor and the cities of Marietta and Belpre. The total cost for the project is around $88,099.
Commissioner David White said the cooperation through the various departments made the process easier.
"Had we not had everybody on board, it would have been harder," he said. "(Having the cooperation) made it an easy thing to do."
Wright said the project, once complete, will be on the county auditor's website and the tax map office will have a copy. He said the process would be done in a flyover via plane and a series of photos would be taken. After that, the images will be stitched together and flattened, ensuring that the maps will be seamless and any distortions of the earth aren't there.
Wright said he anticipated the project would be finished in late spring or early summer.