MIDDLEPORT — Following heavy rains in the month of February, Mill Street in Middleport — better known as Middleport Hill — will remain closed as village and regional officials work toward a repair plan.
Village Administrator Joe Woodall and Mayor Sandy Iannarelli met with Ohio Department of Transportation officials on Thursday to discuss the damage to the roadway and surrounding area.
“Public safety is our first priority and that is why we have the road shut down,” explained Woodall. Mill Street will be closed on Middleport Hill for an undetermined amount of time following the recent slippage, water main break and resulting damage.
The slippage on the roadway was first noticed around Feb. 19, with the village making plans to pour a concrete curb to help stabilize the area on Monday, Feb. 25.
The initial damage, Woodall explained, was caused by the heavy rains which, once the culvert on the rock side of the roadway becomes clogged, run across the roadway. Debris, trash and other items running down the rock side ditch clog the culvert.
Woodall explained that the plan was changed when the water main running along the roadway “blew out” on the evening of Feb. 24. The village has repaired the water main on three occasions since the slip started as the hill side continues to slip from Mill Street toward Brownell Avenue. The second break was about five feet from the initial break, while the third break was the result of the pipe coming apart at the joint due to the slippage of the hill. A different type connector has been put in place to prevent the pipe from pulling apart again.
The village has also taken old pieces of railroad and railroad ties to hold the water main in place until a permanent fix to secure the roadway and hillside can be completed.
Working with Engineer Craig Richards of Burgess and Niple in Parkersburg, the village has received a preliminary estimate of $542,000 for the repair and stabilization work.
Richards states in the budget quote, “As a result of our initial field observation and review of photographs of the site, we’ve developed a preliminary cost estimate based upon a 100 ft. long retaining wall.”
Woodall stated that soil borings would be completed as the first phase to determine what material is needed.
From the initial observation of the area, there is approximately a 12 inch sandstone road bed which was covered with brick pavers and several layers of asphalt, as well as fill dirt underneath the roadway, explained Woodall.
The slip on the roadway has also sent mud, pieces of brick and asphalt over the hillside and into a house on Brownell Avenue which sits below the hillside. The village has been working with the resident to pump the mud and water out of the basement. The small retaining wall behind the residence also collapsed as a result of the hill sliding.
Woodall explained to Allen Craig and Josh Booher from ODOT District 10 that the repair cost and the work itself is more than a small village like Middleport can handle on its own.
Craig indicated that the heavy rains have also caused damage in surrounding counties. Booher is working to compile a list to be submitted for a possible disaster declaration.
Woodall stated that he has also filed information with the Emergency Management Agency and is meeting with them on Thursday regarding the damage.
Craig stated that given the amount of traffic on the roadway for residents of the area the village could be eligible for federal funding to help with the repair.
The village is also working with Buckeye Hills Regional Development District regarding possible funding.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.