ANTIQUITY — More than four months after State Route 124 was closed in the Antiquity area the road remains closed to all traffic.
While work has been taking place, “unforeseen issues” have caused delays, including the current need for a second contractor to complete a portion of the work.
Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 spokesperson Ashley Rittenhouse issued the following statement to the Sentinel on Friday with regard to the project:
In late April 2018, State Route 124 was closed in Meigs County between Racine and Blind Hollow Road due to an active rockfall hazard. ODOT engineers assessed the site when rocks falling into the roadway were reported to ODOT. During the site assessment, engineers witnessed a rock fall. The site assessment also revealed the potential for more rocks to fall and reach the roadway. The decision was made to close the road based on the findings of the site assessment.
Due to the road closure, this project was designated as a Type A emergency, which allowed us to expedite the process for hiring a contractor. The contractor, DGM Inc., started working at the site on May 16, 2018. The contractor has been removing rocks, trees and other debris off the hillside and that work is nearing completion.
However, we have unfortunately encountered some unforeseen issues. During construction a layer of weak, weatherable rock was encountered below a stronger, less weatherable rock. Over time the weak, weatherable rock will undermine the stronger, less weatherable rock and create additional rockfall hazards. The layer of weak, weatherable rock was not visible during initial site assessment due to the steepness of the slope, vegetation and debris from the rockfall area.
These additional issues require specialized work that cannot be completed by the initial contractor. We are currently in the process of getting a second contractor on site to address these additional issues. We are working as quickly as possible to do so.
Rittenhouse also addressed the detour of the area, with the posted detour taking travelers well outside of the local area.
“While ODOT’s official detour is SR 124 to SR 733 to US 33 to SR 124, we recognize that many drivers are taking local routes because they are faster. We have been in communication with Letart Township Trustees and we are investigating the possibility of making repairs to the local detour,” stated Rittenhouse.
A completion date has not been determined as the second contractor has not begun work at this time.
“The safety of the traveling public is our utmost concern and we appreciate drivers’ patience as we ensure that the issues on State Route 124 are properly addressed. We also appreciate those who have brought to our attention the issues on the local routes created by the increased traffic,” concluded Rittenhouse.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.