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Commission approves $1M request

The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved a request from the county engineer’s office for $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding.

County Engineer Roger Wright read a letter he had submitted to the board this week requesting funding for the County Stone Road Surfacing project, estimated at $1 million.

“As county engineer, the county’s 341 miles of roadway and 377 bridges are my main priority,” he read. “As the 2021 annual report states, I have set internal departmental goals of upgrading stone roads as time and money have allowed since taking office in 2013.”

He said the county now has approximately 16 miles of stone road remaining throughout the county.

“The goal of hard surfacing every county road is now within reach,” he read.

Project planning and funding would be done this year with work done in 2023.

“I would propose to utilize internal forces for this project and chip seal these roads in 2023 and 2024, with a double chip seal required each year to create the necessary road base,” he read.

Marietta residents Justin and Jessica Grosklos spoke up in support of the request, as they live on one of the stone roads.

“Our main concern are the potholes. Whenever they grade, we get flat tires,” Jessica Grosklos said. “The dust is awful. We have children and we have animals and our hay quality is down because of all the dust.”

She said they were told because not many people live on that road, it wouldn’t be paved.

Justin Grosklos, fire chief of Little Muskingum Volunteer Fire Department, said when the fire trucks and ambulances are in a hurry on the gravel road, one behind another, is dangerous.

He said it’s also dangerous when following a school bus because of the dust.

Commission President Charlie Schilling said he was inclined to approve the request.

“I think it’s one of those things where it’s needed. We’re in the 21st century and we have this money to spend and utilize on our basic infrastructure,” he said.

Commissioner Kevin Ritter said he was aware of the issues as they work with Wright and the engineer’s office.

“He’s brought these to our attention for years,” he said. “This year is a little bit different in that we have some federal money we can use.”

He said these funds were once in a lifetime and they need to be spent in a way to impact people’s lives directly.

“They will impact them for more than just the moment,” Ritter said.

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