Oregon city council last Monday approved a design change for the Big Ditch improvement project so the city could obtain a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit and water certification from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Council agreed to hire Jones & Henry Engineers, LTD, for additional engineering services for the design of Big Ditch in the amount of $56,600.
Last February, the project was redesigned to comply with wetlands and stream mitigation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The project will enclose a ditch on the west side of Stadium Road as a safety measure for motorists. About one vehicle per year ends up in the ditch.
The project includes improving Stadium Road, between Seaman and Bayshore roads, to enhance traffic safety and upgrade the municipal storm drainage facilities. A ditch on the west side of Stadium will be enclosed as a safety measure for motorists. About one vehicle per year ends up in the ditch. Plans call for the installation of storm sewers and drainage improvements, removing, replacing and improving existing culverts, constructing new open ditches and channels, and restoring the roadway and related infrastructure.
Holding up the project this time was WTVG 13, which owns a tower on Stadium Road, south of South Shore Park, according to Public Service Director Paul Roman. The station, during easement negotiations, objected to having any open stream near its tower anchor.
“At a minimum, they require the southern 735 feet of their frontage to be enclosed in a culvert in lieu of being an open stream. The design we had prior to meeting with them had 235 feet of culvert already enclosed past their driveway and tower anchor. I really felt that was sufficient and shouldn’t cause any concern to them. But for them to even agree to sit down and meet for further easement negotiations, they demanded their entire frontage be enclosed until this system would pass to the north side of their tower. So what they’re asking for is 735 feet, or 500 feet more than their enclosure. This really threw a wrench in the overall project because up to that point, we had met the stream mitigation requirement with the design we had performed, and now we were going to be 500 feet short if in fact we enclosed this section.”
The city tried to negotiate with the Corps of Engineers to get them to reduce the stream mitigation length, but was unsuccessful, said Roman.
“We looked at many different alternatives to try and offset that 500 feet. We looked at putting in a third open channel through South Shore Park. We already have two open channels that will be parallel with the project,” he said.
But the idea was unacceptable to the Corps, said Roman.
“They felt the flow through all three channels would be too little and would not be enough to suffice as wetland or stream mitigation. It then led us to another alternative to look at possibly trying to meander the open stream sections we have. The way this design would work is the basic open stream or ditch would be like a big trapezoid with very flat ditch banks. In the bottom of the ditch there would be a small stream, just one foot deep and three feet wide. The idea is that we could meander this stream through the base of this ditch, and come up with another 500 feet,” said Roman.
“Unfortunately, when we presented this to the Corps., they felt the meander would never hold its shape after a few years and basically demanded that we provide some form of stream modeling to confirm the meandering would work. But there really is no stream modeling that exists that would ever show that. So unfortunately, that idea was not going to work as well,” he said.
The city is trying to find another alternative somewhere along Stadium Road that could provide more open channels in lieu of culverting, he said.
“We came up with a section just north of Corduroy Road. The idea was to take the stream, relocate it to fields directly west of the properties that are there, relocate it around the homes, and come back to Stadium Road to the north. This alternative provides the stream mitigation that is needed, and adds 1,000 feet of mitigation. The Corps would find the design acceptable. Aside from the fact of getting stream mitigation, the other good thing about this alternative is that it’s actually cheaper than the initial design of culverting the ditch alongside the road. An open stream is just less expensive. P:utting in the additional feet across WTGV’s property is a $200,000 increase in overall cost. This alternative, going in back of the homes, actually could offset that by $150,000. It really is the best design for this project. It’s environmentally friendly and the least expensive,” he said.
Roman said he hopes to have the project bid out by the end of the year.