Bridge replacement, paving coming to Oberlin Road

By Jason Hawk -

A $491,000 bridge replacement has been green-lit on Oberlin Road in Amherst Township, with work to tentatively begin in April.

The Engle ditch crossing near Stang Road will be replaced in an Ohio Department of Transportation project at no local cost. Lorain County commissioners approved consent legislation earlier this month to allow the state to move ahead with the job.

About two years ago, state officials started looking at a list of structurally questionable bridges, said Lorain County assistant engineer Robert Klaiber.

Due to age and wear and tear, the Oberlin Road passage landed on that list.

The replacement is far from the only work planned for the area:

• Klaiber said his office wants to replace an eight-foot, arching culvert that runs under the Norfolk & Southern Railroad tracks close to the Ohio Turnpike.

The area is heavily affected by stormwater, much of which flows off the Turnpike’s surface.

According to Klaiber, that negative impact qualifies the project for mitigation grant funding. He plans to apply in January.

A 2013 plan calling for two 72-inch pipes — either concrete or steel — put the estimated cost at $300,000.

• In another project, Oberlin Road will be resurfaced from the Turnpike overpass south to Rt. 113.

County engineers are designing the job, which will be paid for from Turnpike mitigation funds. The nearby ODOT garage means salt plows traverse the roadway a lot, leading to above-normal damage, Klaiber said.

State funding will become available July 1 and the project could start shortly thereafter, he said. It will be a complete mill-and-fill paving job.

When that project is bid out, it will include the creation of a concrete median at Oberlin and Middle Ridge roads.

Klaiber said a safety study of the junction revealed one specific danger: Motorists tended to try to push around cars stopped and waiting to turn into the Hidden Valley subdivision.

• In Spring 2017, a $257,000 improvement is planned there with 80 percent of the price tag covered by a Federal Highway Administration grant.

That plan calls for the addition of a left turn lane on Middle Ridge Road for eastbound traffic turning onto Oberlin Road.

Klaiber said a fatal crash there several years ago red-flagged the intersection as dangerous and a traffic survey showed it is a crash “hot spot.”

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk