The failure of the five dollar motor license tax during yesterday’s primary was a disappointing result for the Muskingum County Engineers Office.
County Engineer Doug Davis says the additional revenue for road repair, maintenance and improvement would have aided significantly in the engineers office efforts to maintain road and bridge infrastructure.
"We had such a rough winter, last winter we spent a little over $400,000 on ice and snow, which is more than twice as much than what our normal budget is. So all that money comes out of one pot, and there isn’t money left over to repair roads and bridges," said Muskingum County Engineer Doug Davis. "Half our bridges are over 50 years old."
In response to comments made by some of the public yesterday, Engineer Davis had this to say:
"We’re doing what we think is in the best interest of the public. We had to do that yesterday. Was that a political ploy to close a bridge on Coopermill Rd. yesterday? No it was not. Why did I wait until 1:30PM to close the bridge? That’s when we did our inspection. We’ve been monitoring that bridge since December. That bridge was slated to be replaced this summer. Due to the Governors initiative they’re going to replace the bridge for us and it was moved back so that they could jump through some hoops so we could quickly replace that bridge according to ODOT standards."
The Engineers Office cannot guarantee that bridges in the county will not close, however, they have a plan to rehabilitate structures and band-aid the problems until the resources to make permanent improvements are made available.
" Our buying power is a lot less than what it used to be. Ten years ago when I took office asphalt was $28 dollars a ton. Now it’s over $80. Concrete prices are over $110 to $115 dollars a cubic yard. They’ve doubled. The price of steel and everything that we use to build bridges and roadways has doubled and tripled in price. Just like it has at home with a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk," said Davis.
Davis plans on bringing the issue back to the County Commissioners for consideration and making the public more aware of the dire need to take care of our local roads and bridges.