A day in the life of the Scioto County Engineer, Craig Opperman P.E., P.S. pretty much begins and ends with contemplating how to efficiently and productively maintain the 3”’ most bridges for counties in the state of Ohio and the 12”’ most road miles all on the 43rd highest funding out of the 88 counties. This extremely difficult task requires extensive knowledge, experience, dedication and effort to keep the county road and bridge infrastructure in as high of quality condition as possible given the limited resources.
The Scioto County Engineer’s Department has pressed forward through yet another difficult year with stagnant revenue. The county crews have proven to be very productive despite having less man power. Again, this year the work schedule was filled to the max with a variety of projects, to mention some: mowing, ditching, tree trimming, replacing/installing plastic and concrete pipe, concrete box culverts, 3 sided box bridges, chip and seal, paving and not to mention our office working in cooperation with the Portsmouth Bypass that’s now underway.
One of the duties of Scioto County Engineer, Craig Opperman is to find and write grants. One such new grant identified was for the first round ever of Federal Land Access Program (FLAP). This grant was separately selected for three different phases to improve the last County maintained gravel road as the Pine Creek Restoration Project. The construction consisted of removing soft spots and replacing with base material, replacement of culverts that were deteriorated, and removal of a portion of the unsuitable road base. Road sections susceptible to flooding were raised to reduce flooding, ditches were graded to drain and the berm was widened throughout me length of the project. Dump rock was placed along the roadway embankment where the creek had eroded the roadway. After all the roadway improvements were completed, the contractor installed a new wearing surface to provide a smooth roadway surface. The Engineer’s Department worked in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Forest Department to make this improvement possible. The work was performed by Allard Excavating of South Webster at a cost of $710,337.07 with 80% or $568,269.66 paid with Federal Funds.
In addition to the Pine Creek grant, we applied for and were awarded grant monies for our “Highway Improvement Program” in the amount of $647,871.85 coupled with Motor Vehicle and Gas Tax Funds for a grand total of $940,260.46. The roads included in this program were:
Bennett School House-South Webster Road, Bums Hollow Road, Carey’s Run Road, Gallia Pike, Houston Hollow-Long Run Road, Lick Run-Lyra Bloomswitch Road, and McDermott- Pond Creek Road. The following roads were not a part of the grant: Noel Hollow (Paid for by Rush Township), Grandview Avenue and Webster Street (Paid for by the Village of South Webster). Lucasville-Minford Road was spot paved by County Crews approximately 0.04 miles at a cost of $1,469.80. Receiving these grant funds makes a tremendous difference in the work being performed year to year.
One of the tasks of Craig Opperman, County Engineer is to determine the best way of keeping up the roads until funding comes available. Therefore along with the Hot Mix Paving Program in 2015, County Crews cold mix paved 5.67 miles on Back Road (Green Township), Hayport Street (Porter Township)), and Slab Run Road (Washington Township) at a total cost of $158,500.47. The chip and seal program covered 59.68 miles of all or parts of 16 county roads at a cost of $493,537.76. To maintain other portions of county roads until further maintenance is needed drag patching was performed on 9 miles of all or part of 14 different county roads. These projects were funded entirely from the Scioto County Engineer’s Motor Vehicle & Gasoline Tax revenues. While this may seem like fairly regular work, this work performed by the Scioto County Engineer employees is not typical work that all other Counties perform. This work is performed solely to keep our roads in a safe and acceptable condition for public travel until such time that the state provides additional funding to maintain the roadway network.
Craig Opperman implemented the three sided box bridge program in 2009, shortly after taking office in 2008. Through the County Engineer’s vision this program was created from scratch to solve the small bridge structure problem. To date, mere have been 61 structures of the County’s 499 that have been replaced with this program. In 2015, the county employees designed, fabricated and installed (4) on the following roads: Bennett Schoolhouse-South Webster Road in Harrison Township at a total cost of $18,838.32, Scioto Trail in Clay Township at a total cost of $ 79,957.49, Sugar Camp Road in Porter Township at a total cost of $37,497.29, and Turkey Foot Road in Vernon Township at a total cost of 22,914.49.
The Engineer’s office also purchased box culverts from a manufacturer that were installed by county crews, one of which (Preston Road) was entered into an assistance agreement with Jefferson Township with a 50/50 split at a total cost of $14,393.12. The other (3) culverts were installed on Big Run Road in Morgan Township at a total cost of $17,661.57, Lick Run-Lyra Bloomswitch Road in Vemon Township at a total cost of $26,217.65, and White Gravel-Dewey Road in Madison Township at a total cost of $12,128.14.
This year the county had one bridge replacement that was performed on Gallia Pike Township Road. The work was performed by Allard Excavating of South Webster at a cost of $71,542.28 (this includes pipe that was purchased by the County to keep cost contained utilizing the County’s bulk purchases).
As for our concrete and plastic pipe program we have installed 367 culverts on 43 different roads. Seventy-two were concrete pipes that replaced deteriorated metal pipes and concrete structures, and two hundred ninety-five of them were plastic pipes that also replaced deteriorated metal pipes. Craig Opperman requires the installation of concrete and plastic pipes in place of metal pipes because of the longer life span of the structure. This is saving money in the future that the county will be able to put in other areas of construction.
Scioto County Engineer, Craig Opperman has been working in roads and bridges since 1989, a 27 year span. Through this experience, the Scioto County Engineer’s Office performs all road and bridge design work with few exceptions saving the County hundreds of thousands of dollars which is then used to improve the roadways.
Working closely with multiple agencies and providing assistance is the opportunity
embraced by the Scioto County Engineer. Several projects are provided aid by Craig Opperman and staff in the way of grant assistance, construction work, engineering advice, etc. each year. Agencies which work in cooperation with the County Engineer are the Townships, City of Portsmouth, Village of New Boston, Village of South Webster, Village of Otway, Village of Rarden, ODOT, SOPA and also historical groups.
A few miscellaneous repairs or improvements that the county crews have performed are slip repairs, road repair and road widening on 6 different County roads. Seeing the need. County Engineer Craig Opperman created a right turn lane on Fairground Road for ease of movement during events like the Scioto County Fair and Trade Days. Due to this construction prior to the County Fair by County Engineer employees and paving by the Shelly Company, the Ohio State Highway Patrol was not required to direct traffic at the intersection due to the improved traffic flow.
County Engineer Craig Opperman envisioned the plan for online tax maps and GIS. The plan involved working with multiple agencies to secure funding for initiation and upkeep. The plan was outlined and embraced by all involved. The system is now available at SciotoCountyEngineer.org by clicking on the Maps tab then select GIS image.
Again this year, the employees of the Scioto County Engineer’s Office continued to
perform the day to day activities of the office to keep progress moving forward for all of Scioto County in all weather conditions.