Keep County Rd F-75 Bridge Closed

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Co Rd F75 in Williams County, OH is a 1.3 mile stretch of road that connects US127 and Co Rd 15.  The bridge at the east end of the road has been out for 4-5 years.  At first it was a pain but now everyone who lives on the road is used to it being closed.  The road has pretty much become a shared community driveway for the 9 households that live on the road.  On nice days you can find at least one family out walking their dog or riding bikes with their kids.  Recently the County has decided to replace the bridge and open the road again.  Seven of the nine households that this would directly effect do NOT want this to happen and the other two are on the fence (they like the privacy and safety the closed bridge represents but are worried that the Township will let the road fall to disrepair).  After talking to a Township board member and them telling me that "no one wants that bridge opened" and then talking to the County engineer and him saying that a Township trustee is telling him that "everyone wants the bridge opened" I decided to start looking into it.  It seemed odd to me that members of the same board that sit beside each other every other week would be saying two completely different things.  I talked to everyone on the road and found out 7 of the 9 households want it to stay closed and the other 2 households were not sure.  I even talked to a handful of homeowners in the small town of Pulaski that is on the east side of the closed bridge and they would like to see the bridge stay closed.  So who is "everyone"???

I attended a Township meeting with another homeowner from F75 to talk to the Trustees about keeping the bridge closed.  We were told that if the bridge was closed the county would have to pay to have it removed, pull the old roadbed up and buy property on the west side of the bridge to put in a 150' turnaround and we'd be looking at $300,000 to do this.  When I brought up that there were at least 3 other locations where bridges had been closed for 20+ years and had no turnarounds put in AND that 2 of the bridges were still standing I was told "each township is different".  I've scoured the ORC and can find no requirements stating that the bridge / roadbed has to be removed and that a turnaround has to be put in.  Currently all county vehicles use my driveway to turnaround in and I am fine with it.  I even offered to widen my drive!  I believe I was purposely given misinformation to dissuade me from pursing this matter further.

The county has secured $600,000 for the bridge work and will have approximately $105,000 out of pocket (tax payer funded).  The $600,000 cannot be used for anything else and if the project is nixed, may not be available for other projects.  It would be nice to use this to help with the Bona Vesta drainage problems!!

So basically we can keep the bridge closed at no cost to the County and keep the voters happy or we can spend County taxpayer money and open the bridge for no apparent reason.

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