November 20, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
25°F

Lt. gov. presents $8.4M plan in support of bridge repairs

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor unveils the Ohio Bridge Partnership at the Medina County service garage, 6100 Wedgewood Road, Monday. The program will provide more than $5 million to repair 11 Medina County bridges. (DAN POMPILI / GAZETTE)

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor unveils the Ohio Bridge Partnership at the Medina County service garage, 6100 Wedgewood Road, Monday. The program will provide more than $5 million to repair 11 Medina County bridges. (DAN POMPILI / GAZETTE)

Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor joined other state and local officials Monday in Lafayette Township to unveil an $8.4 million program that will rebuild bridges in Medina and Lorain counties.

The Ohio Bridge Partnership program provides $120 million for the repair or replacement of more than 200 bridges statewide deemed “structurally deficient.”

Medina County will receive $5.1 million through the Ohio Bridge Partnership to repair 11 bridges. Lorain County will get $3.3 million for five bridges.

Medina County Engineer Mike Salay said the 11 bridges have been on his radar for years.

Salay said that without the new program, the bridges would have taken several years to fix.

“It means we’re going to get caught up sooner,” he said. “Instead of it taking the next eight years, these will be fixed in two years. It gives us a jumpstart.”

Taylor and Salay were joined at the podium during a press conference at the county service garage, 6100 Wedgewood Road, by Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray; state Sen. Larry Obhof, R-Montville Twp.; state Rep. Dave Hall, R-Millersburg; and Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder, R-Medina.

The program is funded through ODOT, after the state made more than $600 million available through budget cuts and moving dollars between funds, as well as the $1.5 billion generated from Gov. John Kasich’s plan to issue the Ohio Turnpike bonds.

To qualify, bridges must be at least 20 feet long, carrying traffic and in need of repair.

ODOT Region 3 spokeswoman Christine Myers said the work is expected to begin next year and in 2016.

A news release said bridges will be fixed on State Road, West Smith Road, Branch Road, Bagdad Road, Grafton Road, Muntz Road, Congress Road, Weymouth Road, Seville Road and North Harmony Street.

Two of the bridges — West Smith Road at Champion Creek and North Harmony Street — are within the city of Medina. North Harmony Street is the only bridge under the city’s jurisdiction and one of 20 city bridges across the state to receive funds under the program.

Taylor and Wray agreed that small local bridges are critical to Ohio’s infrastructure. They praised state officials like Kasich and Batchelder for working on programs that repair roads and bridges, and thanked Salay and other local engineers for their work.

“It is important that we continue to work on Ohio’s infrastructure, working with county engineers to fix bridges in disrepair,” Taylor said.

“Everything we do depends upon our ability to get from one place to another,” Wray said. “Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, we all agree we’re against bridges falling down.”

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.