To the Editor:
I just finished reading the article on “Solution to E. Main St. wall” in the Feb. 13 edition.
For more than a year, I have watched the damage to the front of the property at 351 E. Main St. become more and more of a problem and have wondered when something was going to be done to eliminate the problem. Unfortunately, all I have seen is finger pointing at oil companies with their expected response that they are not solely responsible for the damage. I agree with their opinion that they alone should not be expected to shoulder the cost of repairing damages because of the volume of trucks using State Route (SR 43).
In my opinion, due diligence on the part of ODOT and those responsible for issuing permits for oversized vehicles should have been seriously considered before permits were issued. Also, you do not have to be an engineer to recognize the curve at the end of town is inadequate for the space required for wide turns by big rigs. Couple this with the fact that in a moment of genius someone decided the gas line should also be positioned on that curve and you have the ingredients of a major disaster waiting to happen. When you consider how many times in 2013 alone the guard rail was replaced in front of the gas lines, public safety officials, county commissioners and village officials should be screaming for an immediate solution from the Ohio Department of Transportation.
I may be naive, but the solution to the problem is not that complex. The road needs to be widened. As you enter town from the east, the three properties on the right at the top of the hill need to be razed, the bank cut away and the road widened. The same thing should be done at the bottom of the hill where SR 9 and SR 43 split: raze the dilapidated building at the base of the hill and widen the turn from SR 43 to 9 before someone is killed by truckers who have no regard for traffic when they change routes. When can we expect actions like this to happen? Property condemnations and associated actions are lengthy and time consuming, but they will not begin on their own. Our county and the state are raking in millions of dollars from oil companies and the companies associated with them and, we as residents of the county, should demand public safety and the preservation of private property rights have a high priority when those monies are expended.
One last comment: In the same article, the mayor stated he believed the railroad is responsible for maintenance of the tracks on Main St. and would contact them. If the railroad cannot establish weight limits on vehicles that cross their tracks, how can they be held solely responsible? Repairs obviously need to be made, but please, let’s not pass the buck to the owner who has no control over the damage.