A sinkhole at State Rt. 64 and King Road has closed the roads since Feb. 1. The Ohio Department of Transportation expects the roads to reopen in July.
HASKINS - The Ohio Department of Transportation has awarded a $150,512 contract to Schalk Brothers Inc. of Tiffin for the long-awaited repair of the intersection of State Rt. 64 and King Road on the northern edge of this village.
The contractor will install a lining in the culvert that runs diagonally beneath the intersection, backfill the huge sinkhole that has closed Rt. 64 and King since Feb. 1, and resurface the roads, ODOT spokesman Theresa Pollick said.
Ms. Pollick said the roads should be reopened by late July.
That will be a welcome relief for Haskins. The closure has meant that motorists who normally travel through the village have been detoured around it, causing major inconvenience and business losses.
The rerouting of traffic has also inflicted substantial damage on nearby roads. Middleton Township Trustee Jim Bostdorff said Forst, Hull Prairie, and Tontogany roads were all in need of major repairs at an estimated total cost of $300,000.
Meeting as a committee of the whole last week, Haskins Village Council heard from two Ohio legislators who held out the possibility of finding state money to pay for the road repairs.
State Rep. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) and State Sen. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills) said they were looking into the possibility that two funds maintained by the Ohio Public Works Commission could be tapped for the village and township.
The possible sources of money were a small government fund and an emergency assistance fund, Mr. Gardner explained, adding that he didn't yet know if the village and township would qualify.
He cautioned officials not to be too optimistic. "I want to be careful not to oversell," he said.
Mr. Wagoner said he was studying an economic stimulus package signed by Gov. Ted Strickland that contained money for public works the two communities might qualify for.
The state transportation department has come in for criticism over the length of time the repair has taken. The sinkhole formed when a private waterline serving eight homes and running beneath the intersection ruptured and undermined the roads. Workers from ODOT were unable to start repairs until the Northwestern Water and Sewer District took over the line, moved it, and replaced it. In the meantime, the homeowners put in a temporary replacement.
Bill Barber, the Northwestern District's engineer, said his agency was ready to install a 150-foot, 8-inch line that would connect to a Bowling Green main and serve a total of 16 homes. All he needed was approval of his plan from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, he said.
Linda Benham, an environmental supervisor with OEPA, said her agency received the Northwestern District's plan May 28 and responded to it late last week. The agency is now awaiting the Northwestern District's response.
The repair can't come soon enough for Haskins residents who are weary of detours.
Councilman Tim Enright described the sinkhole as a safety hazard that should have been corrected much sooner.
"I've chased kids away from it. It's big enough to swallow a Volkswagen," he said.
The state transportation department added fencing to the barricades around the sinkhole last week after receiving a call from Mr. Gardner, who visited the site with Mr. Wagoner after the Haskins meeting.
Mr. Gardner pointed out to ODOT the potential threat to pubic safety caused by the barricades, which were weighed down by heavy sandbags but still movable.
State Rt. 64 between Bishop and Cross Creek roads was reopened last week by ODOT upon completion of culvert repair work.
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