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Published: Tuesday, 6/10/2008

Ohio legislators vow to look for roadway repair funds


HASKINS - Two Ohio legislators said last night they would try to find state money for the repair of roads damaged by the rerouting of traffic around this Wood County village during the months-long closure of State Rt. 64.

State Rep. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) and State Sen. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills) emphasized to officials from Haskins and Middleton Township that they could make no promises.

Mr. Gardner said he and his colleague were researching two possible sources in the Ohio Public Works Commission: a small government fund and an emergency assistance fund.

"I don't want to leave you with unusually high expectations, but we need to explore this," he said.

Mr. Wagoner said he was studying an economic stimulus package proposed by Gov. Ted Strickland, noting that it contained money for public works.

The intersection of State Rt. 64 and King Road, at the northern edge of the village, has been closed since Feb. 1 because of a cavernous sinkhole.

The closure has meant that motorists who normally travel through Haskins have been detoured around it, causing major inconvenience and business losses.

The sinkhole formed when a private water line running beneath a culvert ruptured and undermined the roads. The Ohio Department of Transportation has been unable to start repairs until the Northwestern Water and Sewer District took over the private line, moved it, and replaced it.

The Northwestern District is ready to install an 8-inch line. It is waiting for approval of its plan from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Bill Barber, the Northwestern District's engineer said.

ODOT hopes to award a contract for the road repair Thursday and have the project done by the end of July, spokesman Theresa Pollick said.

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