Athens County Gets Grants For Road Projects

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Athens County has been successful in its first attempt to get grant funding through the newly formed Athens County Transportation Improvement District.

County Engineer Jeff Maiden told the county commissioners Tuesday that the Ohio Department of Transportation has approved $250,000 for paving on County Road 53 (Bethany Ridge-Lottridge) and $50,000 for rebuilding a section of County Road 7 (Johnson).

The projects are the first to be funded through the Athens County Transportation Improvement District, which the commissioners formed in May. The two grant requests — which were fully funded by ODOT — competed for a share of $3.5 million the state has available this fiscal year for transportation improvement district projects.

Although the first two grant applications were for county road projects, the Athens County district is not limited to seeking funds for county projects. Nelsonville, Athens and the Athens County Twp. Trustees Association have representatives on the district's board, which also includes Maiden and County Commission President Lenny Eliason.

On Tuesday, the commissioners signed an $814,965 contract with the Shelly Co. of Thornville for the County Road 53 project and paving 1.6 miles of County Road 143 (Potter).

Maiden said work is expected to begin in mid-August.

The project includes 8 miles of "motor paving," which uses an asphalt mixture that is less expensive than hot mix. Maiden said motor paving is more flexible, and a better choice for roads that are not smooth and don't have a strong base. Another 11.2 miles will have chip and seal applied.

The 1.6 miles of Potter Road will receive motor paving.

The county was earlier awarded $400,000 in Ohio Public Works Commission funding for the County Road 53 project. With a total of $650,000 in grant money now available, the county engineer's budget will have to cover about $165,000 of the cost of the Shelly Co. contract.

Maiden noted that his budget will also pick up about $150,000 in costs associated with replacing 38 culverts on County Road 53 and preparing the road for paving.

Maiden said work on Johnson Road will begin in about a week. York Paving of Athens was awarded a $91,296 contract for the work. It involves rebuilding the road from the entrance to Hocking Cemetery to near the entrance to Athens High School.