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Ohio 79, Thornwood Drive connector to open soon

HEBRON- The new connector between Thornwood Drive and Ohio 79 north of Hebron should be open by the middle of October, said ODOT District 5 acting spokesman Jim Spain.

This is good news for Union Township Zoning Inspector Paula Green, who said she’s receiving calls from people thinking the township is responsible for the connector and very upset that it’s not open yet. She was substituting for Union Township Clerk Amanda Griffith during the trustees’ regular meeting Monday night. Green said the connector is ODOT’s project, not the township’s.

Spain said Tuesday that the connector has been under construction for more than 18 months since April 2006 and has cost $4,279,860.12. The straight connector replaces a winding and dangerous access to Ohio 79 via Beaver Run Road; the Beaver Run Road access to SR 79 has been closed for months, much to the dismay of local drivers.

In other township news:

• Trustee Jack Justice said Fallen Ash Road, Stone Valley Drive, and Blue Stone Court were accepted as township roads. They will now be maintained by the township which includes snow plowing.

• Justice said the township’s Gradeall machine was “jumping out of gear” and may need a new water pump. The township appropriated $3,000 to repair the machine.

• Trustee President John Slater said the township should take down the remains of a large tree at the corner of Beaver Run and Blacks roads. Some of it has already fallen and it obstructs drivers’ view of the intersection. “The tree is very dead,” he said.

• Slater said that Licking County Engineer Tim Lollo approved a 45 miles per hour speed limit – reduced from 55 miles per hour – for the section of Beaver Run Road between Ohio 37 and Canyon Road.

• Justice said the township’s health care plan changed to where it only covers 80 percent of the negotiated costs of outpatient treatment, like MRIs, and lab work. The deductible is $1,500. “In the past they’ve paid it all,” he said.

“That’s a pretty major change,” said Slater, adding that the township employees should place some money aside in case they need outpatient services. “We just need to be prepared,” he said.

• Justice said he’s received some complaints from cyclists since Palmer Road was coated with chip and seal. “Apparently it was a nice route for bicyclists,” he said. “They don’t like the chip and seal.”

• Speaking of chip and seal, Justice said he’d like to chip and seal all subdivision roads within the township when they’re built. Slater explained that some of the subdivision roads are originally paved with asphalt. The roads are later dedicated to the township. After just four or fiveyears, the asphalt often requires repair or a completely new coating in some places, at great expense. Chip and seal is far more cost effective than the asphalt, he said. The township is having a hard time affording all the repairs. Slater said if the roads were chip and seal to begin with, it would save the township money and headaches.

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