Washingtonville eyes bridge program

WASHINGTONVILLE – Council discussed an Ohio Department of Transportation program that will inspect the one bridge in the village at no cost.

Solicitor Chris J. Schiavone said Monday the program was outlined in an email to the village setting forth procedures used by a private company hired by the state to inspect bridges.

Schiavone said the state will bear “100 percent of the cost.”

Mayor Will Jones said it would be once a year inspection to make sure it was in good working condition.

Councilman Jim Smith recalled the Columbiana County engineer inspected the bridge, which has little traffic, in 2012 declaring it structurally sound but in need of paint, a well documented issue regarding the bridge.

The three-year program raised a question by Councilman Herman Frank about ODOT’s involvement and what happens if the bridge, which is off Boston Street and runs to the water department and, is not traffic worthy.

“What’s their involvement?’ Frank asked.

“If they come back with a recommendations OK, but if they say, ‘shut it down?’”

He noted that ODOT has sometimes shut bridges down while adding, “We know it’s structurally sound … but that’s one man’s wisdom.”

Councilman Al Vignon asked about putting a culvert in and Smith said, “That’s what was there before.”

Water can go from one to four feet high under it.

Jones said, “It is in dire need of paint” and Smith noted a previous paint estimate of $60,000 and Jones said he would look further into it and “let council know.”

No action was taken.

Council also discussed the difficulty in tracking down owners of rundown and vacant properties it would like to demolish.

Councilman Al Vignon said there was a land bank in Mahoning County that listed all the liens on properties but was unsure if Columbiana County had one. The village is split by the two counties.

Smith said they could clean them up and place liens on them and Schiavone said he didn’t see “why you can’t” noting it’s been done in other municipalities.

Jones said he would check into that issue too, and Councilwoman Becky Vignon noted one house with a swimming pool has been vacant over five years.

In other business, Street Department Supervisor Ed Garrett said there were a couple manhole covers that looked like they were dropping but it was actually the asphalt road bed that was heaving upwards.

He suggested a sealant when the weather breaks.

Garrett said they were good with road salt and the trucks were “gassed up and ready to go.” A snow storm was expected to reach the area last night.

Jones said the village was fortunate with its salt supply in light of problems other communities were having obtaining it.

He also commended the department, noting that both employees have other full-time jobs, for the good job they’ve done in keeping the roads clear.

Garret commented that, “Seems like everytime we’ve been hit is in the middle of the week.”

Also, Jones noted that the alley survey to improve and not close them was proceeding and W.E. Quicksall & Associates is working on a map of the park.

Garrett wondered if the bell from the old Washingtonville School noting mortar from its base was chipping off. The bell dates back at least to the 1920s.