Report reviews county bridges, roads

By Cecilia Fox -

MIAMI COUNTY — Highlighting completed projects and touching on upcoming initiatives, County Engineer Paul Huelskamp made his annual report to the Miami County Commissioners this week.

The Miami County Engineer’s Office repaved about 11 miles of county highways in 2015. In addition, the department replaced or repaired several bridges, replaced 331 road signs and 41 culverts.

In the future, the department has plans for a host of projects, including several bridge replacements and road reconstruction projects.

Two of the biggest projects of the 2015-16 year were the replacement of the Eldean Road river bridge and the CSX spur reconstruction.

The Eldean river bridge was replaced just west of County Road 25-A at the same time the vertical clearance of the Eldean Road railroad crossing — infamous for being hit by tall trucks several times a year — was increased by raising the railroad tracks and by lowering the road elevation.

“It took several years of fund acquisition, project planning, and coordination with a host of partner agencies to bring this project to fruition,” Huelskamp said. “The end result is an underpass that now meets regulatory standards for vehicular clearance, which should prevent the bridge from being hit in the future.”

Huelskamp said that the overpass has not been hit since the project was completed.

Also in 2015, the department collected more than 850 accident reports from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. Beginning in 2016, accident data will be automatically entered into a county-wide database by deputies as they complete accident reports.

Engineer’s Office staff will be able use this data to research accident trends and decide if alterations could be made to roads, bridges, or intersections to improve motorist safety.

Some of the biggest projects coming up in the next year include, the reconstruction of County Road 25-A from Michaels Road to State Route 571. This is a joint project with the City of Tipp City.

The department will undertake the overlaying and widening of Eldean Road between Washington Road and Experiment Farm Road, as well was the repaving of Kessler-Cowlesville from Nashville Road to the west edge of the Rosewood Creek subdivision.

The majority of the costs of each of these projects will be funded by state or federal funds.

Upcoming bridge replacements include bridges on Owens Road, Casstown-Clark Road, and Burr Oak New Hope Road. The department also plans to replace the deck of Experiment Farm Road bridge No. 3.18.

“2016 will be another busy year for our bridge program,” Huelskamp said in his report. “We continue to rely heavily on funds generated through the Miami County bridge levy to accomplish the goals of the department related to bridge construction and repair.”

Huelskamp noted that the levy allows the county to leverage outside funding to complete most bridge projects, including the Eldean Road river bridge replacement that was 95 percent funded by federal dollars.

The department’s 2015 revenue totaled $13,325,822 — compared to $8,987,021 in 2014. Its expenditures came to $13,257,744.

The Engineer’s Office purchased several major pieces of equipment, including two dump trucks, one mini hydraulic excavator, one GMC Sierra pickup truck, and two “ODOT-style” snow plows.

By Cecilia Fox

Reach Cecilia Fox at or at (937) 552-2205.

Reach Cecilia Fox at or at (937) 552-2205.