By the end of November of this year, the residents of Wilson Street in Delta will have a new bridge connecting them to the village and a new sewer line.
That will be the easy part.
The challenge before the six homeowners will be paying to connect their residences to the new sewer line and paying for its installation through an assessment on their property taxes.
Several Wilson Street residents showed up March 29 to a special meeting where Administrator Brad Peebles explained the process of building a new bridge and installing the new sewer line. Peebles brought an ODOT representative to the meeting to help with questions.
According to state and local officials, the situation is dire for the bridge and sewer. The former has broken beams on the east and west side of the span that brought the maximum load down to 3,000 to 6,000 pounds.
The bridge has already been repaired once when a new deck was put in, Peebles said. There has been concern about the bridge since 2007 and the Village Council approved designs in 2010, he said.
Engineers identified structural weakness in two out of the four beams in 2015, Peebles said. The village wanted to replace the bridge in two phases, but that idea was not practical, he said.
ODOT wanted to close the more than 20-year-old bridge, but were convinced to allow the low load, ODOT’s, David Geckle said.
The village will spend $120,000 to erect a temporary crossing to allow crews to erect a new bridge. That project is being funded by the Federal Highway Department.
The temporary bridge will be a single-lane structure built on pilings, Peebles said. The bridge will have a wooden deck, he said.
“It will hold typical traffic loads (20 to 30 tons,)” Peebles said.
Fire Chief Scott Smith said his largest fire struck is only 35,000 pounds, so at a load of 20 tons the temporary bridge will be able to handle any truck in his fleet and any school bus.
The state has put the bridge project on a fast track, Geckle said. The project will be sold as an emergency undertaking, he said
That means selling it six weeks after the designs are received, Geckel said. There will be another 15 days to get all the contracts signed, he said.
“That will put the start of construction around the first of July,” Geckle said.
The village’s goal is to have the new bridge ready for traffic by Nov. 30, Peebles said. The village will be responsible for any cost overruns, he said.
Some residents complained of being told different facts and complained to Peebles about not getting a consistent message. Peebles acknowledged the concerns, but said he waited until he had firm numbers before speaking.
That answer did not appease resident Barb Savage. She told Peebles she would have appreciated being told that firm numbers were not available.
“This is my home, this is where I have lived since 1981,” Savage said. “This is important to me. This is where my son and his family live.”
Savage said her land and the street has historical significance for the village.
As for a sewer, that is something she has wanted since 1981, Savage said. So now when she hears “sewer,” she sees it from a different viewpoint – as a retired teacher on a fixed income.
“It’s going to be a financial hardship,” Savage said. “I don’t have eighteen hundred dollars lying around.”
The sewer line has been ordered by the Ohio EPA due to the leaching from the septic tanks now in use. Two sites tested by the Fulton County Health Department, one on the south side of Wilson and the other on the west have shown evidence of fecal coli form coming to the surface.
“It is seepage coming from the septic tanks,” Peebles said. “There is a mandate coming from the environmental side; the village accepts the responsibility to extend the sanitary sewer to the homes affected on Wilson Street south of the crick.”
The sewer project will cost $175,000 to $180,000 to complete. The residents will each be assessed $30,000 to cover the cost. The residents will pay around $152 a month plus 2 percent interest for 20 years.
If one of the vacant properties is developed, it will reduce the assessment of the original six.
That is the lesser of two evils as a gravity system would cost $450,000 to $500,000, Peebles said. This option would allow everything to flow naturally down to and under the creek to pump station being built by the gas station with to be pumped into the village system, he said.
The cost of that option would have meant an $80,000 assessment for the six residents, Peebles said. The village had to find another option, he said.
The chosen option is for a gravity system that will feed into a pump station on village land near the Providence Street entrance, Peebles said. There will be 1.5-inch line that runs to the new sewer system at Superior, he said.
The residents who attended were not happy about a $1,824 a year increase in property taxes, but appreciated getting the most accurate information possible.
After hearing Peebles’ presentation, some residents still had concerns.
There were questions about the need to remove several trees around the project area and both Peebles and Geckel said it was due to federal regulations about protecting the habitat for the Indiana brown bat. April 1 is the start of the bat’s nesting season and since the bats are a protected endangered species and the money for the project is coming from Washington, the village has to follow federal rules.
Heather Mohler came with her husband Jeremy to listen to the presentation and to ask for protection for their autistic daughter. Heather Mohler fears the construction will be too much of a disruption in their child’s life.
She asked for a sign warning about the presence of an autistic child, but Peebles could not agree to anything without consulting with the village attorney first.
© 2017, James Pruitt. All rights reserved.