Cross Creek seeks road repair

STEUBENVILLE – Cross Creek Township trustees told the Jefferson County commissioners Thursday the time has come to fix roads damaged during the construction of the Crestview-Belvedere sewer project.

John J. Mascio, Cross Creek Township solicitor, said in a letter to the commissioners that township roads in the Crestview Subdivision were damaged by Rudzik Excavating of Struthers.

“Prior to construction the roadways throughout Crestview were in excellent condition, and the pavement was approximately 5 to 6 years of age,” Mascio said.

Mascio said Rudzik drove heavy equipment over the subdivision roads on a daily basis for about nine months.

“Rudzik failed to take any precautions to protect the roads from damage,” Mascio said.

He said the township trustees were told by the county and Rudzik from the beginning of the project that the roads would be returned to their original condition upon completion of the project. Mascio claims damage to the roads has been estimated at between $30,000 to $60,000.

“If the county will not hold Rudzik Excavating accountable, the trustees will have no choice but to hold the commissioners accountable,” Mascio said in his letter.

Mascio said there has been an “unwillingness” of the commissioners to address the issue of the damage to the roads.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham took exception to Mascio’s claim the county is not willing to address the damages to the road, saying the county has met with Rudzik to make repairs. He said the county is withholding the final payment to Rudzik until the issue of the roads and yard restoration is addressed. Graham said the discussions on the remaining work are still ongoing.

Graham asked that Mascio’s letter be forwarded to the county prosecutor’s office for legal advice.

County Commissioner David Maple said the commissioners are working to amicably resolve the issue.

County Commissioner Tom Gentile said there is a “punch list” of work that still needs to be addressed. He asked for the help of county Engineer James Branagan on determining the remaining life of the roads in Crestview. Gentile said the inspector from MS Consultants, the county’s engineering consultant on the project, should have stopped the heavy equipment from being driven on the roads without proper protection, such as tires or planks of wood.

The letter from Mascio may make discussions with Rudzik more difficult on the remaining work because of the threat of a lawsuit, said Debbie Hukill, the county’s insurance representative. She said she needed copies of the contract with Rudzik and the company’s bond and insurance on the project. She said the insurance from the contractor should hold the county harmless from liability.

Hukill said the commissioners now may have to use an attorney in negotiations with Rudzik because of the threat of a lawsuit.

The commissioners also agreed to transfer $10,000 into the account for jury fees. The county auditor’s office reported the money was needed because of the special grand jury investigating the Steubenville rape case and for special sessions of the regular county grand jury.

Gentile said he wants county Prosecutor Jane Hanlin to attend next week’s meeting to explain why the extra money is needed.

Commissioners also approved transferring an additional $4,000 to the county coroner for autopsies, transporting of bodies and blood work.

Commissioners also:

– Agreed to readvertise for bids for the runway extension paving at the county airport. Commissioners also agreed to advertise for bids for aggregate that will be needed for the base of the paving work. The project had to be rebid because the work changed to eliminate the paving of the taxiways at the end of the runway. Earthwork will be done to prepare the taxiways for paving at a later date.

– Agreed to transfer $27,924 to pay for the water line relocation at the county airport as part of the runway extension project.

– Opened five bids for a bridge replacement project on county Road 51. The county engineer’s estimate was $83,075. Mike Pusateri Excavating of East Liverpool was the apparent low bidder, with a bid of $82,774.

– Agreed to rebid the construction of a 911 tower in the Dillonvale area because of a change in the construction design.

– Agreed to advertise for 2,500 to 4,000 tons of cinders for the county engineer’s department for winter weather treatment of roads.

– Agreed to vacate an unused road right of way in Lewis Addition, Island Creek Township, which will be split among two property owners. Commissioners said the road right of way was established in the 1940s and will not landlock any property owner.

– Recognized commissioner Clerk Linda Porter who celebrated her 40th year of working for the commissioners this week.