At the Tuesday evening meeting of the Adams County Board of Commissioners at the Peebles Public Library on June 17, Liberty Township Trustees and concerned citizens presented a signed petition to the board requesting that Robinson Hollow Road be repaired.
Robinson Hollow has two exits - one in Sprigg Township and the other in Liberty Township - with the majority of residents living in Liberty Township. The Liberty Township exit has two creek crossings that require vehicles to drive down into the creek bed. Cars have been bottoming out in the creek bed, and buses are prohibited to use the crossings ever since a bus had an engine flooded in high water. The Sprigg Township exit does not have any creek crossing; however, the exit is a longer distance to drive.
County Engineer David Hook was present at the meeting and a discussion of the possibilities for handling the situation commenced. Four years ago this same issue was brought to the attention of the Engineer’s Office, and they developed solutions. Putting in bridges is estimated to cost $400,000 with one bridge costing $300,000 and the other being $100,000. Box culverts are another option, costing a total of $125,000; however, they would only have an estimated lifespan of 10 years, as the approaches can wash out. The final option is putting in two low-water crossings that are estimated to cost $20,000 to $25,000.
Because the box culverts are predicted to only last 10 years and the state requires a crossing to be good for 25 years or more, few grants will assist with constructing them and county funding is prohibited by the state. The same applies to low-water crossings because they are not approved for state funding. In addition, since a bridge would be a new improvement rather than maintenance of old improvements, Ohio Public Works Commission grants would only cover 50 percent of the cost.
The Liberty Township Trustees were concerned about the costs of the projects. The citizens present all stated that they were fine with the low-water crossing, as long as something was done. The commissioners listened to the discussion and suggested that a work session be set up next to work out the details of how the township will handle the project with county assistance if needed.
The Adams County Commissioners, Liberty Township Trustees, and County Engineer’s Office met during the work session, and they discovered that the three funds that Liberty Township has for road projects - Gas Tax, Road and Bridge, Motor Vehicle, and Permissive Motor Vehicle - have a combined $363,972.32 between them in revenue. $166,182.50 of that has already been appropriated, leaving $197,789.82 remaining unappropriated. For a comparison, Franklin Township has approximately $96,800 in unappropriated funding for road projects. Most other townships appropriate all of their funding for roads, whether it gets spent or not.
With the knowledge of the amount of unappropriated funds available, those in the session decided that a low-water crossing would be the best option for the two creeks. While the Engineer’s Office cannot provide any funding towards the project due to low-water crossings being prohibited at the county level, Engineer Hook has offered to assist with the project in other ways.