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Lake County, Ohio - Engineer

News Releases

    February 10, 2015


    Lake County Engineer, James R. Gills, announced today that the Cashen Road Bridge Replacement Project in Madison Township was awarded to the Seville, Ohio based firm Cuyahoga Bridge & Road, Inc.  The $849,889.95 project will replace the structurally deficient bridge over Arcola Creek with a new structure, re-aligned asphalt pavement, and drainage improvements.  The County Engineer has secured 80% of the project funding using federal monies with the remainder from local gasoline and license plate fees.  Construction is expected to begin mid-July and be completed by November 20, 2015. 

    The project will require closure of the crossing. A detour along Dock Road, U.S. 20 and Countyline Road will be utilized.
      The bridge replacement will have new vertical and horizontal alignments of the road to accommodate safety considerations.  The new structure will provide eight (8) feet of additional road width on the bridge.

    Mr. Gills stated, “This roadway carries significant local east/west traffic through this community and will understandably disrupt the motorists
    ; however, it is our hope the traveling public understands that the short-term inconvenience caused by the project was necessary to reap the long-term safety improvement benefits.  This project is an example of the stretching local dollars by leveraging outside funding.”

    January 5, 2015
    Lake County was awarded a Section 319(h) Nonpoint Source Implementation grant from the State of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to assist with the removal of the L’Alouette Plumee Lake dam, construction of a new culvert under Morley Road, and restoration of the drained lake to restore natural stream function.  The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is providing the required matching funds for the grant to assist with the dam removal and culvert replacement construction.  Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc. assisted the County with the grant application and will continue to provide technical and grant management assistance throughout the project.   

    Lake County Engineers along with ODOT are currently developing design plans to remove the  dam and construct a new culvert under Morley Road by jack and bore.  Stream restoration activities will be bid out separately from the dam removal and culvert construction as a design- build project.  Concurrent construction of both portions of the project is scheduled to begin July 15, 2015 and end October 30, 2015. 

    The need for the project came about in Fall 2013 when Lake County Engineers discovered an active sinkhole and a collapse in the spillway culvert that was endangering the dam and County- maintained Morley Road.  At that time the dam was placed in a monitoring status by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Ohio Dam Safety Program (ODSP) and action was required to either bring the dam into ODSP compliance or remove it.  After communication with various stakeholders, Lake County Engineers determined that the most viable option was to drain L’Alouette Plumee Lake, remove the dam and construct a new culvert, and restore natural stream flow in the dewatered lake.   

    November 26, 2014


    With the early snow fall this year, the Lake County Engineer’s Office decided that it is a good time to remind residents living on County maintained roads of this Office’s mailbox replacement policy.  Many years ago, the Engineer’s Office routinely repaired or replaced all mailboxes damaged during the winter snow removal process.  Unfortunately, this process proved to be costly when the time required for repairs combined with smaller work forces and the increased prices for materials were examined.  This led way to a revised policy that was adopted in January of 2013.

    While every effort is made by plow drivers to avoid damage to mailboxes, we understand that it does happen.  When clearing the berms and/or edge of roadways, drivers are required to drive close to the mailboxes and on occasion a plow blade does come in direct contact with a mailbox.  If this occurs, the County maintenance crews will repair or replace mailboxes that have been installed and maintained properly.

    What constitutes a properly installed and maintained mailbox?  

    Mailboxes should be installed with the face of the box 12” to 18” off of the edge of pavement.  Extension arms are a good way to place the post back farther from the roadway and still meet the offset requirements.  

    Mailbox posts must be break away and cannot be mounted on anything larger than a 4x4 wood post or 2 inch diameter standard steel pipe.  The posts shall be installed no deeper than 24” and not encased in concrete.  Proper maintenance means that the posts are not rotted, rusted, or broken.

    Mailboxes should be mounted 41” – 45” above the road surface.  This mounting height helps protect the box from being hit by a plow blade.  All plow blades used by the Lake County Engineer’s Office have mailbox cut-outs in the top right corner that are designed to avoid properly mounted mailboxes

    If a resident believes that their mailbox has been damaged by a direct hit from a County owned snow plow, they should contact this Office at 440-350-2770.  A Supervisor will evaluate the damage to determine if the County is at fault.  If the damage was caused by a direct hit by the vehicle or plow blade, the County will repair or replace with a 4x4 treated wooden post and a mailbox approved by the United States Postal Service.  Specialty, exotic and expensive plastic style mailboxes will not be replaced.  The County’s liability per occurrence is limited to the unit described above or a cash settlement not to exceed $35.00.  An inspection by the Lake County Engineer’s Office and a signed release form is required prior to payment.

    Please be advised that damage by thrown or pushed snow does not warrant replacement.  Property owners should not place snow that is removed from their driveways or parking areas on the roadway or any place that would cause a plow to push it or throw it at the mailbox.  Again, by properly installing and maintaining their mailboxes, residents can help avoid damage to boxes during plowing operations.

    For questions regarding mailbox installation requirements, residents should contact their local United States Postal Office.  Maintenance questions can be addressed to the Lake County Engineer’s Office.

    November 25, 2014


    Salt costs are continuing to impact the County Engineer’s efforts to maintain roads this winter.  In fact, as recently reported in the media, the prices for salt have increased almost three times those of last year.  The Lake County Engineer’s Office is responsible for over 304 lane miles of County Roads and 110 lane miles along SR 2 from the Cuyahoga County line to the US 20/SR 2 split in Perry Township.  We also plow the roads for North Perry Village.  There are a maximum of thirteen snowplow trucks on the County Road system and five snowplow trucks on SR 2.  Our crews use a combination of treated and untreated salt, Beet Heet (an agricultural additive mixed with the salt) and/or cinder materials to maintain the freeway and County highway system.

    High salt costs require us to revise our salting and deicing procedures.
      When conditions are dry leading up to a storm event, the County will apply anti-icing material on all of the ramps and mainline of SR 2 in the County’s maintenance area.  The material is not effective and cannot be applied if the pavement is already wet or rain is expected prior to switching over to snow.

    We will use salt as the primary tool in deicing the freeway.  This year, we will use treated salt at a rate of 300-400 lbs/mile.  During each winter storm, the priority will be the slower (right) lane and the ramps along SR 2.  The remaining mainline lanes will be plowed center lane to left as applicable until the storm eases or we have reasonably cleared the other areas of SR 2. 

    On the County highway system, we will pre-treat with an anti-icing material on critical roadways when applicable and use a combination of salt, Beet Heat and cinders.  The ratio of salt to cinders will be dependent on traffic volumes and snowfall amounts.  These ratios will either be a 50/50 mix of salt to cinders or a 67/33 mix of salt to cinders.  Untreated salt will be treated with Beet Heet.  The added liquid lowers the freezing point of rock salt helping it to work in temperatures less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit.  It also keeps the salt from bouncing and scattering as much during application so that more salt stays on the roadway. 

    As conditions dictate, we will use an additional truck on some routes.  The salting priority for the County Highway system will be hills, bends and intersections.  The straights will be spot treated in a manner to keep them passable.  As the storm eases, we will put material down on the straights.  This will continue until the storm ends.

    During the evening hours (8 PM – 4 AM), the County will put down minimal material to keep the highways passable.  This is a time when traffic volumes are low.  This nighttime salting policy applies only to the County Highway system, not SR 2.

    Our salting policy will not deice roadways as quickly as in the past.   Supply and demand in tandem with economics have forced us to make these changes.  Our goal with this policy is to continue to provide the citizens of Lake County with a safe driving environment and allow us to stretch our reserves for the entire winter season.   It will require county drivers to cooperate during these events.  Please exercise caution and be free of distractions while driving on our roadways during snow and ice conditions.

    October 27, 2014


    Lake County Engineer, James R. Gills, announced today that his Office along with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the FHWA have devised a plan to restore travel on Vrooman Road over the Grand River prior to the anticipated opening of the new high level bridge in 2017.

    A line item for the replacement of the bridge will be added to the current contract for the proposed high level bridge that is expected to be advertised for bids in early November.  The successful bidder will be required to remove the existing structure which sustained significant damage that deemed it unsafe for travel on or around October 1, 2014.  Once the structure is removed, the Contractor will rent or purchase a temporary bridge structure to be installed on the existing bridge abutments.  The temporary structure will be used for the next 14-16 months.  Mr. Gills anticipates that the temporary bridge will be in place and open to all traffic by May 1, 2015.

    In the meantime, Vrooman Road over the Grand River in Leroy Township will remain closed to all motor vehicles including bicycles.  Motorists are advised to follow the suggested detour of I-90, SR 44 and SR 84.


    October 27, 2014



    As of Friday, October 24, 2014, the posted speed limit on Vrooman Road from 0.60 miles South of SR 84 to 600’ north of the Centerline of I-90 is 35mph.
      The existing 40mph signs have been removed and replaced with new 35mph signs.

    The reduced speed limit is a result of a Speed Limit Revision Study that was conducted in accordance with ORC Section 4511.21.
      Said Study was accepted and approved by the Ohio Department of Transportation on September 24, 2014.

    October 3, 2014 



    Lake County Engineer, James R. Gills, announced today that the Vrooman Road Bridge over the Grand River in Perry Township/Leroy Township will be closed for a minimum of 30 days.  This office is currently investigating whether an overloaded truck crossing the bridge caused damage to major structural components.  The cracks in the steel tension members of the bridge were discovered on October 2nd during the County’s biennial fracture critical inspections.  As the damage is more extensive than originally anticipated, a plan to address the issue is currently being prepared. 

    While the closure is in place, motorists are advised to follow the suggested detour of I-90, SR 44, and SR 84. The process of installing the detour signs was begun today and will conclude on Monday, October 6th.

    The public is reminded that the emergency closure is necessary to protect public welfare and safety as the cracks have the potential to increase in size.
      Drivers should not try to drive around and/or move the barricades to gain access.