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Washington County Commissioners hear 911 projects

Four prospective projects for Washington County’s 911 system were brought before the Washington County Commission during Wednesday morning’s meeting.

Lt. Chris Chesar, chair of the Washington County 911 Technical Advisory Committee, said he was going before the board to discuss funding from the 911 levy to cover the cost of the four recommended projects.

“A temporary backup dispatch center located at the (Emergency Operations Center) here on Davis Avenue. That would be for all three public safety access points, which includes Belpre Police Department, Marietta Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office,” Chesar said of the first project.

He said they would like to have a two-part dispatch center there, where at least two can be working at the same time.

The cost of the first project would be $106,948.

He said they are also looking into a third dispatch position at the sheriff’s office, which is the second project.

“They are currently not at staffing levels and they are looking into hiring two more people,” Chesar said. “This station would help them tremendously.”

The cost of the second project is estimated at $64,020.

Dispatch software for the sheriff’s office and Belpre police is the third project, with a total cost of $64,072.

“The fourth project would be to seek reimbursement for all three (public-safety access points) for Windows 10 required updates,” Chesar said. The cost of the final project would be $5,566, with a total cost for all four projects at $240,607.

Commission President David White said it would be an excellent opportunity because people were concerned after the recent failure of the county’s 911 system.

Washington County Engineer Roger Wright also went before the commission with a funding resolution for a paving project on Warren Township Road 720, also known as River Lane. The project includes the resurfacing of 1.15 miles of River Lane starting at Ohio 7, along with guardrail, pavement markings and minor turn radius improvements.

Marathon Petroleum has terminal facilities on River Lane, with commercial trucks using the road daily. The company has provided $40,000 for the project.

“When we first started talking to Marathon, there was heavy truck traffic,” Wright said. “You’ve got those tankers coming in and out of there. They were having problems with potholes. The road is 24 foot wide.”

He said Warren Township was having a hard time finding funding to repave the road. Marathon was concerned with the quality of the road and wanted to help.

Wright said there was also an accident between two trucks at the intersection of Ohio 7 and River Lane, as the road wasn’t wide enough for both trucks. Widening the intersection should fix the issue.

He said the Ohio Department of Transportation took delivery information and other data from Marathon on their terminal facility and ODOT had the idea that they could designate River Lane as a port road, which allowed it to be eligible for federal funding.

“If we could designate it as a port road, it would fall within the (Wood Washington Wirt Interstate Planning Commission) boundary,” Wright explained.

He said the project has been talked about since 2006, but it wasn’t until 2013 when the project planning started picking up steam.

The estimated cost of the project is $380,320, with federal funding through WWW of $310,497. With the $40,000 from Marathon, the estimated balance of $29,823 would be paid through the county engineer’s office, Wright said.

“I’m going to act as the local funding source and we will pay any remaining balance,” he said. “However, it’s a township road, not a county road. We got a resolution that (Warren Township) would reimburse up to $40,000. Our hopes would be that partnering with ODOT, the cost would come down and the township wouldn’t have to participate at such a high level.”

He said if the remaining balance went over $40,000, he would have to discuss it with the township.

“We believe (the project’s) important enough that we want to see it happen,” Wright said. “They will reimburse us after the project is complete.”

He noted ODOT will be repaving Ohio 7 sometime next year and the River Lane project will be bid out at the same time.

“We tried to time it when ODOT will be repaving (Ohio 7) to get better bid results,” Wright said. The paving bid for Ohio 7 will be Dec. 12 and the bid for River Lane will be at the same time.

“(River Lane) is another section of the (Ohio 7) project,” he explained. “It’s a subset of the project. We wanted to bid at the same time to gather as much savings as we could.”

In other commission business:

¯ Buckeye Hills Regional Council requested the release of $21,500 in federal funds for the replacement of playground equipment at the Marietta Township Park on Sandhill Road. The equipment replaced will include swings and backboards, as well as the installation of handicapped ramps.

¯ Lessa Grubb of the county’s IT department reported that the recent outage of the 911 system in Washington County was due to a failure in a piece of equipment, which ultimately overloaded the county’s network.

“It was legacy equipment and there are none other like it in the county,” she said, adding the piece has been replaced with one more reliable.

Major Troy Hawkins of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said there is a statewide system in place where if one county 911 center goes offline, any calls received should ring into another 911 center.

“I think what people need to understand is the way 911 is set up in Ohio,” Hawkins said. “It will ring in to a 911 center somewhere, whether that is Columbus or wherever, but it will reroute to a 911 center.”

Hawkins said as soon as the system failed, they dialed 911 and the call rang into the Gallia County 911.

“We had communications with Gallia who then had cell phone numbers as a backup to get in touch with our 911 center,” he explained. “Those services, although they were interrupted, were minimally interrupted, since that’s a redundant system throughout the state.”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

Dates to remember:

• Courthouse closed today and Friday for Thanksgiving.

• Senior Levy Clubs meeting, 3 p.m., Monday, commissioners meeting room, Gilman Avenue.

• Regular commission meeting, 9 a.m., Dec. 5, Gilman Avenue.

• Monthly county home meeting, 8:30 a.m., Dec. 10, county home.

Source: Washington County Commission Clerk.

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