The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 5, 2012

Ashtabula County Port Authority supports Route 531 project

 The Ashtabula County Port Authority on Friday gave its support to a major shoreline and highway stabilization project along Route 531 in Saybrook and Geneva townships.

The Ohio Department of Transportation requested the authority provide a letter of support for the project, which will involve a stretch of highway 1.25 miles long. The affected area is between Ninevah and Myers roads, a section that has been plagued by shoreline erosion for years.

Brent Kovacs, public information specialist for ODOT District IV, said the project will cost $7 million and be funded with state and federal money. ODOT expects to advertise the project for bids in May 2013.

“It will probably start that summer,” Kovacs said. “The estimated completion date is September 2014. We’re expecting to be about 1 1/2 years on this project. During that time, (the affected section of Route 531) will be open to locals only.”

Kovacs said the project will involve reconstructing the stone along the water’s edge to the north of Route 531.

“We’re not going to be removing what is there now, but we’re going to be adding bigger stone,” he said.

There is an 800-foot section of shoreline that is not protected by stone at this time, and Kovacs said the project will add protection to that area. ODOT anticipates that the work will be done from above the slope.

The highway phase of the project will involve a slight widening of the surface to create a shoulder and runoff erosion control.

“We’re going to be adding drainage ditches and culverts to get the water away from the road,” Kovacs said.

ODOT must acquire 87 private parcels along the highway in order to start the work. Kovacs said the property acquisition is in process.

Permitting is also in process. Kovacs said the Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Department of Natural Resources must sign off on the project.

Port Authority Executive Director Sean Ratican said ODOT needed a letter assuring the department that the slope work along the shore would not affect any projects the authority had planned for the area.

“We aren’t planning any projects there,” Ratican said.

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