Traffic worries aired in Harrison

CADIZ – Scio resident Bill Harmon came to the Harrison County commissioners’ meeting Wednesday to voice his concerns about the increasing traffic from the Harrison Hub.

Harmon, who lives on Crimm Road, questioned why the access road connecting the facility to state Route 151, which he believed would alleviate much of the truck traffic through the village, had not been completed.

“I am not against the oil and gas industry,” Harmon explained. “The plant is now in production and I have truck loads of volatile chemicals coming by our homes and through the village, some going right past the school house. My question is why isn’t the road to the plant open yet?”

“This should never have happened,” Commissioner Dale Norris said, explaining the original completion date was November of last year. Norris said that the first 200 feet were completed last fall but weather delayed the construction until January.

Commissioners agreed with Harmon that the county may have exceeded its resources in taking on the project. “That is not our call,” Norris said, adding county Engineer Rob Stewart is “his own boss.”

“He is an elected official and he bid on the road,” Norris added. “In his defense, there have been complications.”

Doug Crabtree, Harrison County Engineer’s Office business service officer, said the railroad crossing had been delayed but was nearing completion. That project along, with the bridge construction, were bid out to other companies.

The bridge project was slated to be completed by the end of this month but Midstream changed the load limit requirements for the project.

Harmon complained about the dirt from the traffic and said he fears the increased traffic from the production along with new construction traffic as the plant begins Phase II will exacerbate the problems.

“I am not complaining about the construction, I understand that was all for the progress,” Harmon said. “But these volatile chemicals coming past our houses, 24-7 is a concern and it is only going to increase.”

Bethel said. “This is something that is certainly out of our control but we will get back with the engineer’s office and try and get this wrapped up because they are feeling the pressure as well.”

Crabtree said the board that he would consult with the engineer and come back to the board with a completion date estimate at the next meeting.

Switching hats, Crabtree, president of Harrison County’s EMS Association, updated the board on the group’s last meeting. Chairman Jon Gray and Crabtree gave the board some details on a five-point plan to revamp the program and bring it back to standards to provide quality care for residents.

It is not something that is going to happen overnight,” Crabtree explained. “They do have some short-term fixes along with long-term goals, some of which have already started to be implemented.”

The plan was presented to the EMS Committee last week and has not been to the County Fire Association but currently the plan calls for updating the county dispatch services as the first step. The committee will consider adding a computer aided dispatch system.

The second step will be implementing and formalize recruitment and training programs for EMS services. Step three will be creating a professional accountability structure; step four will be to implement a county wide Advanced Life Support response system through volunteer services or partnering up with paid services throughout the county; step five will be looking at the financial structure of the EMS services and using resources to the fullest extent.

The committee will also meet with Sheriff Ronald J. Myers to discuss dispatch issues.

“Our main focus is to get the message out to the community about the nature of volunteerism,” Gray added. “The volunteers contribute a tremendous amount to the county.”

Gray explained that general volunteerism is down and the changes in the health care system have increased the requirements that volunteers have to meet.

“Ten years ago the first responder requirements were basically first aid and EMT was an 85-90-hour class,” Gray explained.

In other business:

The board approved $110,226 for the court system to purchase and install document scanners.

The system will be installed and the employees trained by the software company. Records will be available to the public in house and eventually online.

Commissioner signed an agreement for the UEO 24 Phase II pipeline crossing at Scio. The line will bore under the Conotton Creek Trail. All proceeds from the easement go to the trail committee.

Commissioner also signed agreement with MarkWest for an easement along U.S. Route 250 near the Heavlin farm.

Leslie Milliken, deputy registrar for the county, announced the BMV will be closed Thanksgiving and the following Friday and Saturday. The offices also will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

A representative from the Bluegrass Pipeline met with the board showing a planned route through the county. The project calls for construction of a natural gas liquids pipeline from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania to processing and storage facilities in Louisiana.