The Highway Department employs about 15 roadway workers to maintain the Ashland County Road and Bridge system.
Many activities are planned and scheduled based on the nature and expected life span of materials used for the roads. Some are taken on as needed.
The public is an important partner in bringing road needs to our attention, in particular for situations that only come to light under limited situations. For instance, a ditch blockage will only be apparent during or after rainfall.
The Ashland County Engineer encourages you to report ditch, pavement or safety issues you see or experience on the roadway so work can be scheduled accordingly. If you report an issue a record is created by office staff and the Highway Superintendent or Engineer prioritizes the work adding it to our rolling schedule of projects.
To ensure the integrity of the road system permits are required before doing any work in the right-of-way or hauling oversized/overweight loads.
Below is a list of common road problems and how we try to stay on top of them.
COMMON PROBLEMS TO REPORT
Downed electric lines or debris on the road are emergency situations and are dealt with as they occur. Our crews, with the help of the sheriff, will secure the area until the hazard is removed. Stay clear of downed electric lines.
High water is also an emergency situation. Our crews respond by putting up barricades when high water is reported. They are removed when the water subsides. Never drive around barricades or into water covering the roadway.
The Ohio freeze and thaw cycles are very destructive to our road surfaces. Water seeps into weak areas, expands as it freezes and enlarges the crack or hole. Our crews will hand patch the pavement with cold patch mix. Each spring all county roads are driven and assessed for repaving or sealing. We generally repave about 5 miles of road and seal about 55 miles each year.
Ditch not flowing
Road ditches are intended to carry water away from the road leaving a drier road surface and road base. This improves the safety and stability of the road. Through time, natural and man-made items accumulate and impede the flow of the ditch. Our work crews use heavy equipment to clear ditches that no longer function properly. The work area must be marked by the Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) prior to excavating. OUPS requires 48 hours' notice so ditching is not a project that can be done the same day as reported.
Drive pipe or ditch enclosure plugged
Drive pipes and ditch enclosures are conveniences for property owners and are part of the road drainage system.
Drive pipes allow property owners to access their property from the road. Ditch enclosures are a system of pipe and inlets that allow people to fill in the ditch on their frontage. Many people install ditch enclosures to make mowing easier.
To provide the needed drainage drive pipes and ditch enclosures must be designed to keep water from flowing over the road. They require occasional maintenance to keep them functioning. Installation, replacement and maintenance of pipes is the responsibility of the landowner (see ORC 5543.16).
We do not install drive pipes or ditch enclosures but a permit is required before you install or replace them. The Engineer uses run-off measurements to design a drive pipe or ditch enclosure personalized for your location. The design is included with the permit and tells you what size pipe and how many inlets to use. The inlets are especially important because they allow the water to enter the ditching system and not flow over the road. As the county becomes more developed run-off is increasing so never assume the current sized pipe is the size pipe you need now.
Mowing and brush cutting
Our mowing and brush crews deal with vegetation that interferes with sight distance, obscures signage or threatens to fall into the road.
Generally three rounds of mowing begin in late spring after the ground firms up and continue through the summer. Both sides of the ditch are mowed but usually the first pass only gets the road side to knock down the tall spring growth. Subsequent passes get the entire right-of-way.
A list of dead or dying trees and areas that need limbs cleared is created during our annual sign reflectivity check. Growth, weather and aging trees continuously add to this list. Recently the list has been quite long as our crews deal with the many Ash trees dying due to the Emerald Ash Borer.
When trimming limbs, we chip and remove the brush as we go. For taking down trees we contact the owner for permission to do the work. The wood is left for the owners use.
Our crews work hard to keep the roads free of snow with a priority placed on roads leading to schools. Each type of snow has its own set of challenges. Drifting snow is especially challenging in the flat northern area of the county where there are few windbreaks. Our plow trucks distribute salt and grits to melt the snow and increase traction. To best utilize our resources each truck has computerized controls for its spreader system. The system is calibrated on a regular basis.
Mailboxes occasionally are knocked down while we are working. If we knock down your mailbox, we will repair or replace it. The best type of mailbox is metal because, while the plastic mailboxes look nice they become brittle, especially during the winter.