Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Clermont asks for aid to fix storm loss

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

STONELICK TWP. - Clermont County officials are hoping to get financial assistance from the Ohio Public Works Commission after weekend storms damaged several roads and two bridges, causing several road closings.

Rain pummeled the Tristate Saturday, causing flooding throughout Ohio and Kentucky. A tornado near Maysville, Ky. sent more than a dozen people to the hospital.

High winds and fast-falling rain caused Brushy Fork Creek to rise so high that it washed away an abutment supporting a 68-foot bridge along Owensville-Belfast Road in Stonelick Township in the north-central part of the county, officials said.

Clermont County Chief Deputy Engineer Patrick Manger said storms also damaged another bridge along Stonelick-Williams Corner Road, also in Stonelick Township.

In Batavia, work crews measured two inches of rain during a 45-minute period during Saturday's storms.

"We're in the process of categorizing what that means," Manger said Monday. "When engineers design structures they try to factor in the amount of rain that could exceed safety standards."

Both bridges remained closed Monday as the engineer's office evaluated damage.

Manger said the cost to fix the bridge along Owensville-Belfast Road could exceed $400,000.

"That's money the county doesn't have," he added.

Beth Nevel, director of the Clermont County Department of Public Safety Services, said county commissioners have not decided whether to declare the Owensville-Belfast bridge an emergency site.

In the meantime, the engineer's office on Monday requested assistance from the state Public Works Commission that has funds the county could use to make repairs.

The original bridge over Brushy Fork Creek was built in 1905, but was rebuilt in 1980 when similar conditions caused the bridge to collapse, Manger said. If funds become available the work could take as long as six months.

Traffic along Owensville-Belfast Road is being rerouted along U.S. 50, Ohio 132 and Ohio 131- about an 8- to 10-mile detour.

As for the bridge along Stonelick-Williams Corner Road, the storms caused severe erosion to at least one of the bridge's supports.

In Miami Township, in northwestern Clermont County, township service crews spent Monday surveying damage to areas along Dry Run and Sugar Camp Roads, which also had to be closed.

There was also damage to Miami Glen Park, which runs along the East Fork of the Little Miami River.

E-mail mmccain@enquirer.com

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