By SAMANTHA PHILLIPS
Trumbull Ave. near Northgate Dr.
Thirty-nine roads in Liberty need “immediate surface treatment,” according to a study by the Trumbull County Engineer’s office.
Sixty-two township roads “need immediate maintenance and will need surface treatment” and 64 roads have “already been paved or need crack sealing and some repairs.”
Most of these roads are less than 1 mile long.
The county’s comprehensive study of all 62 miles of Liberty roads is new.
“It’s the first time we did a study of this magnitude with township roads,” said Jack Simon, director of governmental affairs with the county engineer. “We’ve never done a study that in-depth.”
Simon explained the office measured every road and ranked them on sustainability and the order in which they should be repaired.
The roads that received the worst ratings are Crumbine Avenue, Maryland Avenue and Northgate Drive. Northgate is estimated to cost $52,000 and was last improved in 1961.
One section of Crumbine Avenue is estimated to cost $1,120 and was last improved in 1991; another portion is estimated to cost $640 and was last paved in 1980. Maryland Avenue is estimated to cost about $1,067 to repair and was last improved in 1980.
The best-ranked roads are Liberty Street, Ohio Trail, Oriel-Rodgers Road, Willow Wood Drive and Yvonne Drive, which were all improved in the last three years.
The engineers recommended the type of material – asphalt or cold patch – that should be used for each road. Simon said trustees and the road department will review the report and decide which treatments would be suitable and cost-effective.
Trumbull Avenue near Northgate Drive is deteriorating and trustees are contemplating a tax levy for road improvements this fall.
“Liberty is having an issue with their roads. ... They asked us to do a comprehensive study on every road they had, to help them get a plan together on paving,” Simon said.
Liberty roads have been a point of contention for some residents, who have voiced frustration at trustee meetings.
“I consider this to be one of the major issues in Liberty,” said Patrick Ungaro, township administrator.
Fixing roads is a priority for the trustees, but they have limited funds: The cost of repairing all 62 miles of roads would be $8.73 million, according to the county estimate.
Trustees will decide how they will pursue funding , and Ungaro said they must decide soon if they intend to put a levy on the ballot in September.
“We will probably have to put it on a ballot,” Ungaro said. “You can renew the road levy, or maybe have a new one.”
Trustee Jodi Stoyak suggested putting the road levy renewal on the ballot along with a new levy with similar millage. She emphasized it took three tries to get the current 1.25-mill levy to pass. It has generated about $250,000 a year.
“That’s only enough to pave three roads a year. When you have 62 miles of roads, that doesn’t get very far and that doesn’t cover crack-sealing, which we have never done as far as I know, and that’s an important thing to do,” Stoyak said.
Ungaro agreed and said three roads per year isn’t enough.
Along with levies, the trustees are considering pursuing grants from the Ohio Public Works Commission that could benefit the resurfacing program.
“We will meet again with the engineers, and hopefully we’ll come up with some good ideas on how and when we get some money and where it comes from,” said Arnie Clebone, trustee. “The report is a good tool to start with; it’s a preliminary analysis.”
Portions of Academy Drive, Euclid Avenue and Royal Arms Drive are set to be resurfaced this year. “We want everything done as soon as possible,” Ungaro said.
Clebone said a big part of the trustees’ decision will be input from the residents.
“I can tell you it’s probably the most important thing the township has to be concerned with, the roads. From what I understand, it’s more on people’s minds than anything else is,” Clebone said.
One less-expensive option is using chip and seal on roads that aren’t traveled on frequently. Another would be to hire the county to do part of the work, and have the road department do the patching.
Stoyak said she would like to hire some part-time road department workers.
“We need that right now,” she said.