The age of over 200 of Muskingum County’s 400 plus bridges are 50 years old or more.
The Muskingum County Engineer said he’s spent the last decade years of working to repair these structures to extend their life span, but there comes a time where a repair won’t fix the bridge and federal money can’t go to bridges 20 feet or less. The cost of material is also on the rise.
"Our concrete, our asphalt, the steel that we buy for our structures they’re not what they used to be," explained Muskingum County Engineer Doug Davis. "Our buying power is so much less. Our dollar is being spent not as far as it used to be. Today’s dollars aren’t as much as yesterdays."
This is why Davis said his office placed an additional $5.00 license plate fee on the ballot in May. Of the $465,000 this fee would raise, $100,000 would go to townships and $65,000 to municipalities for road projects. The counties $300,000 portion will be earmarked for bridges.
"If they get to the point where we cannot maintain them, where they’re not safe I have to close them," said Davis. "I don’t want to do that. We’ve really tried diligently in the last 10 years that I’ve been here to concentrate on structures on bridges to get a handle on these things, to prolong and inspect and rehabilitate these structures."
Besides the license plate fee increase Davis said Ohio Public Works Grant Program also has an issue on the ballot. The City of Zanesville and Muskingum County both use the grants to complete projects like road paving. To learn more about the need for a license plate fee increase click on the link under the picture to the left of this story.
The primary election takes place Tuesday May, 6.