THE BELMONT County Engineering Department had a busy 2013 and many projects were completed.
County Engineer Fred F. Bennett. writing in The County Update, gave a review of what was done and outlined some of what is being planned for the new year.
Bennett said five projects were bid in 2013 totaling $2,015,253. New centerlines were painted on 168 miles of county highways costing $172,105. Also, 13.67 miles of county roads were resurfaced at a cost of $921,918.
"Thanks to the county commissioners for funding these two projects," Bennett said. "We also used department funds to have 59,500 gallons of road oil placed on unpaved county roads for dust control."
New traffic signals are being installed at the intersection of Mall and Banfield Roads at a cost of $118,494. The project is being funded 100 percent by the Federal Highway Administration. Work should be completed in January.
Bids were also opened on a new bridge to be constructed on Sand Hill Road at a cost of $721,350, Funds will come from the Ohio Public Works Commission and the county engineering department. Work is scheduled to begin in March.
Bids were opened recently by the Ohio Department of Transportation for the rehabilitation of two stone arch bridges which were built during the 1830's as part of the National Road. Both of them are currently opened to traffic. One is located in Lloydsville and the other just east of Morristown. The low bid in the amount of $972,687 was submitted by BOG Construction of Berlin Center, Ohio. The project is being funded by the Federal Highway Administration and local funds.
On the local level, the county bridge crew built eight new bridges in 2013 and is now replacing the parapet walls on a concrete arch bridge on Willow Grove Road. When that work is done they will begin installing a temporary bridge across McMahon Creek. The bridge will be used during construction of the new bridge on Sand Hill.
Bennett said oil and gas drilling companies, along with various pipeline companies, are hiring local contractor s to upgrade county highways and bridges which they are using during their operations. He said Gulfport Energy rebuilt 3.91 miles of Count Highway 128 and 0.6 miles of County Highway 124 with about six inches of asphalt. Rice Energy also built a new 66 foot span bridge on Smith Township 202. There was no cost to Belmont County for either project, according to Bennett.
The engineering department lost two long time employees who retired and hired three new ones.
"All of our employees did an outstanding job and much was accomplished," Bennett said. "The county's economy is starting to grow and there are a lot more trucks on the roads and bridges. However, we have had excellent cooperation from these various companies and we express thanks to them."
In closing, Bennett expressed thanks to all the employees for their hard work and dedication, and wished them and their families the best during the holiday season.