A community meeting has been scheduled late this month concerning the Ohio Department of Transportation’s possible relocation of State Rts. 64 and 65 to avoid part of the Maumee River’s south bank that officials say is shifting.
But among those likely to attend the Sept. 26 session, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Waterville Library, are two Perrysburg Township homeowners who say the proposed project is much ado about nothing.
Carl Hudecek, who has lived for 29 years along the joint section of the two routes between the Waterville Bridge and their southerly junction near Reitz Road, said the settling slope that ODOT cites to justify relocating the road has shifted only at the top.
That, Mr. Hudecek said, was mostly caused by utility trucks that overloaded the ground next to the road on the riverbank side when new communications cables were installed several years ago.
Then officials worsened the problem by dumping poor-draining clay soil on top of the site and they waited too long to reseed grass, he said.
Recent minor settling near the surface followed visits by bulldozers that cleared paths on the slope to the sites of monitoring wells ODOT installed to monitor the riverbank, Mr. Hudecek said.
“I don’t see where they have to do anything,” he said. “They base this on the premise that the pavement’s collapsing. It’s not collapsing one iota.”
“ODOT has received and is reviewing Mr. Hudecek’s comments,” Theresa Pollick, a department spokesman in Bowling Green, said Friday.
Also opposed to any highway relocation is George Thompson, a Holland resident who owns a house and farmland on the east side of Routes 64/65 as well as part of the riverbank immediately upstream from Mr. Hudecek’s property.
ODOT recently realigned the southerly junction of Routes 64 and 65, work that would be torn up if the road is moved, said Mr. Thompson, who stands to lose up to 30 acres of “prime farmland. Nearby residents can’t recall any accidents since that realignment,” he said.
“We’re totally against it. It’s not needed. There’s no element of safety involved that could be improved,” Mr. Thompson said Saturday.
Relocating the road would not require taking any of Mr. Hudecek’s homestead; if anything, it would move the highway farther away.
But Mr. Hudecek said the possible project would be a waste, and that possible state work to reinforce the riverbank on his property would damage the slope’s natural beauty, which includes a broad variety of trees and shrubbery and habitat for abundant wildlife.
State officials also are contemplating a replacement of the Waterville Bridge, which was built in 1948 with a truss design that engineers say is “fracture critical” — vulnerable to collapse if particular components were to wear out and fail.
In a separate letter to ODOT, Mr. Hudecek has urged ODOT to consider building a State Rt. 64 bridge upstream of Waterville, creating a bypass route around the village for trucks using Route 64 to travel between the Bowling Green area and U.S. 24.
ODOT plans to hold public meetings about the Waterville bridge next spring.
Officials said in July that the main options being considered were replacing the bridge at its current spot, which would require a long-term closing, or building a bridge just upstream and connecting it with Farnsworth Road in Waterville.
The Waterville Library is at 800 Michigan Ave., Waterville.
Contact David Patch at: email@example.com or 419-724-6094.