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Austintown seeks road assistance from county



Published: Fri, March 4, 2011 @ 12:03 a.m.

photo

The Vindicator (Youngstown)

Sherry Froelich discusses the condition of Webb Road in front of her home with Austintown Township Trustee Jim Davis.

By Elise Franco

efranco@vindy.com

AUSTINTOWN

Township trustees know money is tight throughout Mahoning County, but they don’t think residents should have to drive on roads that are likened to a “military zone in Baghdad.”

Board Chairman Jim Davis sent a letter this week to Marilyn Kenner, Mahoning County deputy engineer, expressing concerns about a handful of residential roads that are the county’s responsibly to maintain.

Davis said Webb, Wilcox, Fairview and New roads are covered with holes several feet in diameter, chunks of broken pavement and gravel.

“I am forced to travel the treacherous roads each day as I travel to and from work. This is also the case for thousands of other residents,” Davis said in the letter. “I can only imagine that this ride each day is a close comparison to driving through a military zone in Baghdad.

“... My car has had some bone-jarring encounters with potholes the size of some small craters.”

Mike Rinko, who has lived on Wilcox for eight years, said he can’t remember a time when his road wasn’t a mess.

“It’s been like that continually. After a rain, it just gets washed out because the base is no good in that road,” he said. “People say this road has not been paved for 15 years. The other roads get done; why can’t ours get done?”

Kenner said Wilcox and Fairview were last resurfaced in 1996.

Rinko said though he drives no more than 5 miles per hour down his street, the potential for an accident is always there.

“It dangerous because someone’s coming one direction, and you’re coming the other, and you’re both trying to avoid potholes,” he said.

Davis said he asked Kenner to provide the township with a list of county-maintained roads in Austintown along with the dates those roads were last paved. He also asked for any plans or timelines the engineer’s office has for resurfacing any of the roads.

“Several members of the county engineer’s office recently received pay increases,” he said in his letter to Kenner. “I would love to tell my residents and taxpayers that the employees of the engineer’s office are working hard for that pay.”

Kenner told The Vindicator that the engineer’s officer plans to pave an inch to an inch and a half of asphalt on Wilcox and Fairview roads this spring.

“We met with some of the residents who live on [those roads] at the latter part of last year,” she said. “We did let them know that we do have plans to do something with the road.”

Kenner said the paving will cost about $100,000.

Davis said that as of Thursday afternoon, he hadn’t received a response to his letter or any information regarding repaving the roads.

Austintown Trustee David Diztler said what those streets really need is a complete overhaul.

Ditzler said roads such as Wilcox, Fairview and Webb need to be refilled, resurfaced and curbed.

“The problem is, they’re just going to lay blacktop over the holes, and we’ll be right back here in three more years,” he said. “They’ve known of the problem, but the money just hasn’t been available to do the project properly.”

Kenner said the project that Ditzler spoke of would cost the county about $2 million, and she has no timeline as to when it will become a reality.

“We have 483 miles of county road, and we have a lot of roads in the same or worse condition,” she said. “They do have a legitimate complaint, and we do know we have to give attention to that.”

Kenner said the engineer’s office plans this year to resurface Four Mile Run Road, Lanterman Road to Interstate 680 and Ohltown Road from Silica to Turner roads. She said those projects will cost a total of $185,000.

Ditzler said though any paving in Austintown is positive, trustees and neighbors want to see action where action is most needed.

“From a pure paving standpoint, [those roads] aren’t the worse that needed done,” he said.


Comments

1gobdmn(18 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

They seriously need to get all trucks off Western Reserve Road.
Especially R&J Trucking and CZ Construction. That road can barely handle compact cars!!!

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2JME(801 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Kim, I was thinking the same thing, specifically this:

"and make a left turn lane on the intersection of Route 46 and Western Reserve Road. "

I travel through this intersection often and there is no justification in installing left-turn lanes on the Western Reserve Rd. portion - there isn't one on Rt. 46!. I don't even believe there is enough traffic there to justify the traffic light at that intersection.

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3landarch10(1 comment)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I find Davis' comment that compare Austintown's roads to a military zone in Baghdad offensive, irrelevant, and elementary. As a township trustee, he should be careful to make poigniant and insightful comparisons. I am continually reminded of the lack of experience and training a trustee can have in public policy or planning and yet hold a represenative and legislative position in a township. Your public now Jimbo, think hard before you speak. There is no reason to have the county help the township. Maybe people in the township need to realize the REAL cost of suburban sprawl.

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4mark(60 comments)posted 3 years ago

Jim Davis isn't wrong, and I'm happy we finally have a trustee in Austintown motivated enough to inquire about and make efforts to expedite solutions for real issues that have plagued Austintown residents. Wilcox and Fairview roads have been in a condition that necessitated resurfacing since around 2005, yet about 4 years ago the county came in with tar to cover the road. Used more than half to fill a sinkhole in front of Popeyes, then backfilled the remainder onto the outer 2-foot edges of the road, leaving the surface in a half-repaired condition. This kind of waste is a slap in the face to every taxpayer in the county, especially when the engineers' office sees raises. I've spoken with Mr. Marsico and other county engineers at the Canfield Fair and it scares me how far out of touch they are with county residents and the state of deterioration of county roads.

Mr. Davis is right. In 3 year's time, these roads will be in the same condition they've been for the past 7 years. That's what happened to New Road in 2009. Now it is full of large potholes and strips of uneven pavement. Money is wasted all over this county, like this multimillion dollar Western Reserve Road project for the 5 people and cows that live out there. Meanwhile, other roads in populated townships are abandoned for nearly half a decade after the need for repairs is already apparent to drivers who experience bent rims and require front-end alignments every winter. Turner and Kirk Roads are next. If they doesn't see a mill-and-fill this year, they will be in the same shape as New Road is now. Kirk may hold up because it has an ODOT base under it from long ago when it was State Route 629. But that has likely long since deteriorated from lack of maintenance, as well.

There was once a proposal to curb and properly drain these roads, but obviously that never happened and the money to fund it "disappeared." Instead, Wilcox and Fairview have dirt ditches that flood over the street which further deteriorates the base and surface, culverts that were placed in 1949, and instead of looking like a future area of development for West Austintown, this area ends up looking like the country road that it was 50 years ago when Jan Ed Lake and a few rural houses were the only occupants of the properties off of these streets. Today we have valuable properties in this area, yet I'd be willing to say that the biggest deterrent to further development here are the poor access roads. Up until this past week, that included Fairview, Wilcox; and continues to include Turner, as well as New and Kirk Roads indirectly.

It's time for change in the county engineer's office. A major reallocation of financial resources needs to occur, and perhaps we need an office whose first priority is serving the populated areas of the county that have been neglected for several decades while a 2 mile, completely unpopulated stretch of Western Reserve Road sees millions of dollars of over-investment.

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5CFallsTiger(1 comment)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Someone has to say it- East Webb is not a particularly nice street, and we can't afford to spend a ton of money on a dead end street with just a handful of houses, which are valued at $75,000 at best. Maybe it isn't fair, but if you are only paying property taxes on a $75,000 house then you aren't going to get a lot of services.

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