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Officials debate possible closure of Echo Dell Road

October 22, 2012
Morning Journal News

NEGLEY - A road targeted by Middleton Township trustees for possible closure has drawn the attention of state and county employees willing to help keep it open.

Trustees Nancy Michaels, Eldena Gearhart and Timothy Pancake said over the summer that Echo Dell Road is dangerous for travel and unless funding is made available for the necessary improvements, it should be closed.

The improvements, including the installation of guardrails, were estimated to cost more than a million dollars.

Michaels and Gearhart said last week the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) donated 50 tons of grindings to the township to improve the road's condition. The township road crew put the grindings down recently and trustees said that although more improvements are needed, it did help significantly.

Trustees also said they are waiting to hear back from ODOT on whether the state department can acquire funding for the installation of a culvert pipe that would address the drainage problem.

The township owns the narrow, steep and winding half-mile of road that serves as a northern access into Beaver Creek State Park and is responsible for its maintenance. The road is bordered by a steep hillside on one side and a deep ravine on the other and has slowly eroded over time due to lack of proper drainage.

Township road foreman Tom Reidy said previously that maintenance is difficult because of the road's location between the hillside and ravine. He told trustees that attempting to keep the ditches clear was a "never-ending problem" because of all the water run-off.

Other departments looking to improve the road are the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of State Parks and the county engineer's office.

The ODNR, which Gearhart had said in July was leaning toward the closure, is now looking for available funding for improvements, and the engineer's office is seeking a small government grant, trustees said.

County Engineer Bert Dawson has said that closing the road would be a detriment to the park.

The main entrance into the state park is located at the southern end of Echo Dell Road in St. Clair Township.



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