Battling with Bunny John

Battling with Bunny John

Image Credit: Dave Mast

A renovation of a dangerous bridge on County Road 19 was at the top of the agenda for the Holmes County commissioners in the Monday, March 7 meeting at the Old Jail in Millersburg.

After recently sending out the official bid request and opening up the bid process for any interested construction company, V.O. Menuez & Sons Inc. was the lone company to submit a bid for the bridge project. With an estimated bid from the county engineer’s office at $1.06 million, V.O. Menuez’s bid came in at $1,119, 492.93.

County engineer Chris Young will review the bid and make a recommendation for the commissioners to accept it.

Young said the bridge, known as Bunny John Bridge, has become a concern because there is a very sharp turn where the bridge is currently located. In addition, the bridge was originally built with a pier in the center, and that pier has caused debris to gather and cause flooding in and around the bridge when high water flows around it.

“We will be moving that bridge, and taking the pier out of the center should really free up the water flow nicely,” Young said. “We are taking that turn out and dragging the bridge over and straightening it out.”

Young said there is a Public Works grant in the amount of $677,000 that will help pay for the project, with the rest of the funds coming out of the county engineer’s MVE funds. He said the project should begin within one month, and once it begins, County Road 19 will be closed where the construction is taking place for approximately 120 days.

Commissioner Ray Eyler said it is encouraging to have a local company submit the lone bid.

Young said the engineer’s office recently received a pair of grants, one in the amount of $25,500 for a curve study on all county roadways and the other in the amount of $30,000 for a countywide inventory sign study at all bridges, culverts, guard rails and any other signage along county roads.

He said the process includes a system called global mapper in which videos are taken to allow viewing of any issues. He said the system will identify each sign and what type it is, comparing their inventory with the federal sign database.

“That’s nice to get those grants,” Young said. “We are looking into putting new signs up to mark our roads better so people don’t stop out in the middle of the road. We are actually looking at printing our own signs, something we are investigating right now. We’ve never had that; we’ve always ordered them. But we’ve found there are supply-chain issues, and we can order signs and take a month to get here.”

A new printing system would allow the county to generate its own signs promptly.

Young said they have been in discussions with the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism to hash out what new signage should look like.

Young said once they figure that out, he will bring the information to the commissioners.

In addition, Young said his office is currently working on sewage hook-ups near Bunker Hill, where Bunker Hill Market is being constructed.

Located at the intersection of County Road 168 and state Route 62 north of Berlin, the new sewer system should allow other businesses and homeowners in the immediate area to hook into it.

“They are going to relocate the pump station near Grace Church to the north side of the bridge,” Young said. “It will go up (County Road) 77 on the east side and service the new market, but it will be deep enough they can go along County Road 168.”

He said the county is still calculating the flow of the system.

In other news the commissioners passed a resolution setting a viewing and hearing date upon the request for dedication of a certain Berlin Township property as a public roadway. The property is located on Township Road 376, coming off state Route 62.

The hearing for the resolution is scheduled for Monday, April 4 in the Old Jail meeting room in Millersburg.

They also passed a resolution authorizing a noncompetitive procurement for replacement of the control system for the fire alarm system at Holmes County Department of Job & Family Services, due to an emergency that arose when the panel caught fire the weekend of March 5.

“The panel shorted out and burned up, so they have to get it replaced,” Eyler said. “Right now they have some firefighters from District #1 and other places and their staff monitoring it 24 hours a day. They were lucky. It must have shorted out enough that it set the alarm off at the sheriff’s office. That could have been a disaster.”

Commissioner Rob Ault said the county can replace the system without bidding it out, meaning it can be taken care of promptly.

“It needs to be fixed right away,” Ault said, noting the system replacement needs to occur quickly because the building is without fire detection and an alarm system as required by fire code.

The resolution said it also creates a safety issue that must be remedied by a manual fire watch 24/7 until fixed.


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