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Persistence yields long-awaited project

Jul. 20, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

The nation's tremendous infrastructure needs and the difficulties in paying for them have been illustrated in Lawrence County, Ohio.

For eight years, the county's top priority bridge project was replacing a span on Lawrence Street Road (County Road 22). That bridge would have to be closed a few times a year due to Ohio River flooding, causing troubles for local residents.

But we all know how state and federal governments are strapped in finding the money to attack all the roads and bridges across the country that need attention. That's why the project remained a priority for so many years without action.

But persistence and patience are finally paying off. Officials anticipate the bridge replacement, which involves raising the bridge and adjacent roadway by five feet, will be finished sometime in August.

Eighty percent of the project's costs is being paid for with federal money, but it required several years for that approval. Then it took more than a year for the Ohio Department of Transportation to sign off on its portion of the financing. But another complication arose: Six months was needed to buy a small parcel of land for $600 to allow the project to proceed, County Engineer Doug Cade said.

But that wasn't all. The first set of bids came in too high, and the project had to be rebid. Finally, a contract was awarded last fall, and the work proceeded this summer.

Getting to this point, of course, required consistent attention from county officials, who also credited U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, for supporting federal funding for projects like the bridge replacement.

Once the new bridge is in place, motorists in Lawrence County will be better served.

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