MILAN VS. ODOT Bickley: 'We'll shut the road down'

MILAN - Would Milan really shut down the northbound side of U.S. 250 near the southern boundary of the village and cut off the major route north in the area? Mayor Robert Bickley threatened to do just that if the Ohio Department of Transportation and other state officials can't help fund the $100,000 needed to repair erosion on the federal highway discovered after heavy rains in September.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


MILAN - Would Milan really shut down the northbound side of U.S. 250 near the southern boundary of the village and cut off the major route north in the area?

Mayor Robert Bickley threatened to do just that if the Ohio Department of Transportation and other state officials can't help fund the $100,000 needed to repair erosion on the federal highway discovered after heavy rains in September.

Bickley wrote letters to state representatives Matthew Barret and Sue Moreno for help in finding funds for the emergency repairs.

"Our final position remains IF ODOT insists the village is financially responsible and IF the roadway is in such condition as to be of possible danger to the public and IF the village is liable for any harm that may be caused to the traveling public, the village will utilize the $2,907.36 to purchase orange barrels and ROAD CLOSED signage to close U.S. 250's northbound lane immediately and until such time as the village receives enough road tax funds to make the necessary repairs," Bickley wrote.

The $2,907 Bickley mentioned is the current balance in the village gasoline tax fund, which is earmarked for road repairs.

Until a resolution is found for the conflict, ODOT has put up orange barrels near the side of the road where the berm has collapsed.

The village does have a levy for street and sewer repair, but administrator Bruce Bowie said it wasn't intended for federal or state highways. "When we put that levy on for the residents, it was for their streets not the federal and state roads," he said. "If it was put on the ballot for those roads, it would get a resounding 'no' vote."

Bowie added that the levy generates about $100,000 a year so it would take a year to gather the funds for the U.S. 250 repairs and that would leave nothing to take care of streets that village residents use daily.

Bowie said the village's street superintendent noticed the erosion after a severe thunderstorm in early September. The village notified ODOT for assistance in repairing the problem.

ODOT's answer was one the village didn't want to hear.

"ODOT again urgently recommends the village take immediate action to correct this condition which is clearly the responsibility of the village of Milan," wrote Tim Farley, highway management administrator for ODOT, in a letter to Bowie. "Should the village fail to respond to my office . . ., ODOT will proceed with measures to secure an emergency contract to repair this hazard."

Farley gave the village a Nov. 9 deadline and said the village would be billed directly for all costs for the repair if ODOT does the work. He estimated a $100,000 bill.

Bowie agreed with ODOT's contention that according to Ohio Revised Code, the village is responsible for maintaining all federal and state highways within village limits. But that doesn't make it feasible, he said.

"It's a classic case of unfunded mandates," he said. With only about $3,000 a year income from gasoline tax, he questioned how federal and state governments can expect the village to make major emergency repairs to a highway that takes people past the village rather than through the village. "We've probably spent that just mowing the grass on the roadsides for state and federal roads," he said.

Bickley agreed that state and federal governments were expecting too much of local communities by dumping all maintenance for state and federal roads on small communities. "Hopefully, we can get some cooperation from ODOT," he said.

Huron County Engineer Joe Kovach has also agreed to help Milan and ODOT look for funding for the project. "It's not really a Huron County engineer problem, but I try to work with everybody," Kovach said. "In the spirit of all working together, we're trying to help out."

Brian Stacy, ODOT district 3 spokesman, said ORC is very clear in detailing the village's responsibility for the cost of the repair. He said if ODOT completes the work, the department would bill the village for materials, labor, overhead and equipment.

"We sought to meet with the village and were unable to set a meeting to discuss how to proceed further," he said. "It's an obvious safety concern."

That concern prompted Farley's letter giving the village a deadline to take action, Stacy said.

ODOT officials have met with Bickley and Bowie since then, Stacy said, to talk about possible funding options for the project.

"We're continuing to work with the village and continuing to work on an amicable solution while at the same time trying to protect the safety of the motorists that use U.S. 250," Stacy said.

Stacy would make no projections as to what ODOT would do if the village can't find funding and shuts down the northbound side of the highway. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," he said.


B Man (Anonymous)

Mayor Bickley is shooting off his mouth and don't know what he is talking about again. The Village cannot shut down any state or federal highway. It has no authority to do so. Only ODOT can shut down Rt.250. Big City Mayor Bickley would do better if he would work with ODOT to fix the problem. ODOT has been very good to the village and their citizens over the years.

Safety First (A...

Is this going to turn into another "political" issue? The first thing that should come to mind is the safety of the persons who travel this route on a daily basis. This shouldn't be a toss up as to whom is going to pay for it. Fix it and get it done so there is not another disaster like what happened in Minneapolis. Come together as mature adults and solve this issue!

I love know it ...

Actually, they can. Its a hazard and just like if there was an accident where something nasty got spilled on the road.... they can shut it down. You wouldn't wait for them to call ODOT and ask in that case would you? no. Don't be dumb, don't start spouting off on stuff you have no idea about.

BMAN (Anonymous)

I Love know it alls. in the case of a spill the fire department and HAZMAT is in control. Not the village.
Again the village has no control over a state highway.Bickley has no control over anything but his big mouth. work with ODOT and get it fixed.

shut if down (A...

you go bickley! unfortunately the state is right it is the villages problem and if they ant afford it then it should be shut down! CLOSE IT! PLEASE close the road! i dare you .. please prove something to hte dictators!

Motorist (Anonymous)

God Bless Bickley for sticking up for little Milan. Don't get pushed around by the State

Solution (Anonymous)

Fix the damn road now before somebody dies. Does Milan or ODOT care about peoples lives??? Apparently not so much.

Al (Anonymous)

Which one of you guys crushed my hat?

Re BMan (Anonymous)

That was one simple example.. the point is there is washout under the road and If the city wants to close it they can... don't be bitter, you're just ignorant, you can't help it.

Funding Option ...

Problem: The ORC states it is the "Village" that is to bare the burden of the expense. If ODOT picks up this tab, it will set a precedent for every other small town to do the same and open the flood gates, so that is not going to happen. I just say increase the amount of trafic tickets issued locally and use that money to repair the road.

Milan Resident ...

Buffulo Bob is wrong and he knows it.Sell you cowboy hat and get the road fixed.

How can he (Ano...

Can a mayor really shut down a highway, or any road? Seems like it would take a govenor to do that?

Observation (An...

The erosion is obviously recent as no vegetation is growing in the portion pictured. Is the erosion caused by the recent bridge maintenance? If so, who is responsible for the bill?

Gutter (Anonymous)

Milan shouldn't have an issue with paying for this repair with all the tickets they issue, considering I've witnessed them issuing citations in front of the homestead near the turnpike.

Newton (Anonymous)

If you can't afford the cost to repair something, don't annex it! Milan was so quick to bring this road inside the village limits so their little troopers can sit out there and write tickets but now don't want the responsibility. Nothing is free in this world. You think its fair to claim all the tax money from land around 250 along with all the money gained from your Nazi police force hiding in the weeds but expect the state and other groups to pay for the repairs? Why buy the cow when the milk's free, right?

LOL! (Anonymous)

....your Nazi police force hiding in the that's FUNNY

Who cares just ...

d@mn thing before it caves in and someone and their children dies.

orange barrels ...

Im just so sick of them. I like to point out the ones someone hit though.

orange barrels ...

Im just so sick of them. I like to point out the ones someone hit though(hoping no one got hurt of course)

RE: Orange barr...

Orange barrels do dont mess up my car! It's those stinking potholes. I get so peed off when I hit them!

gas guzzler... ...

to the Norwalk gas consumer.. be aware.. we are being overcharged again for what we are paying for gas in Norwalk... there was a short time when the local dealers were aware that we were watching them , and they adjusted their prices to be more in line with the surrounding area.. but not anymore.. on friday , the price of gasoline was $3.04 in Sandusky and Lorain, but in Norwalk .. it was $3.13 to $3.19 per gallon...I will not makew a special trip to go out of town to buy my gas, but i do travel out of town once or twice a week out of town, and i will watch the gas prices and buy my gas at the lowerst priced station , and i can almost bet you that it won't be found in Norwalk ,, shame on you Norwalk dealers!!

Dazed4days (Ano...

I see that old man in the cop car at the corner of 113 and 250 almost every day. You know they (Milan) has the money. It's just the big whigs that don't want to give up the dough.

I hate the oran...

We went to Sandusky last night in the pouring rain, and those barrels, and the deer....not a great cruise. I hate winter, and I especially hate orange barrels in winter!

Deer Guzzler (A...

I hate those damn, dirty deer. At least I can see the orange barrels. Those damn sneaky deer with there fur and all. You don't see them till they're right on top of your car sneering at you through the windshield. Why doesn't Bickley make the deer wear the orange barrels before some family or children get killed.

Venice Son (Ano...

Hoagies & grinders, hoagies & grinders
Hoagies & grinders, hoagies & grinders
Navy beans, navy beans, navy beans
Hoagies & grinders, hoagies & grinders
Navy beans, navy beans
Meatloaf sandwich
sloppy doe, slop, sloppy doe
sloppy doe, slop, sloppy doe
sloppy doe, slop, sloppy doe
sloppy doe, slop, sloppy doe

Re: Deer Guzzle...

I just happen to be a rich fur trader passing through the area on my way to Lorain to buy some cheap gasoline. I had to stop for the night after traveling all day from Bellevue because I don't have a globe. While lounging in my heart shaped tub doodling on my fur covered laptop at the Raceway Motel (fine establishment, tell all your friends),when I came across your local paper,(fine tabloid, tell all your friends). Being a rich fur trader and all I would like to contact you about investing in your wonderful idea. Let's call them Deer Barrels. Have your people contact my people at the Raceway Motel ( fine establishment, tell all your friends). Call me, we'll do lunch.

Dear Deer Guzzl...

I too, was traveling from Clyde to Lorain to save money on gas, when all of a sudden, hundreds of deer, out of nowhere surrounded my brand new super sparkling 2008 Hummer. We had quite a time trying to fend these beasts off, one ran smack dab into the side of my brand new super sparkling 2008 Hummer and hurt himself. When I offered to trade insurance information, they refused to tell me and proceeded to run off towards the east. Hard telling where they are now, who they are torturing. I agree with the Deer Barrel idea 100%. Maybe we could get a petition going and if enough people sign it, it could become a law. No deer shall be orange barreless. Martial law would allow us to put the barreless deer in their place. I would love to get in on your investing idea. I will have my people contact your people at the Raceway Motel (a fine establishment indeed). You have a Blessed day, sir.

CHEAP GAS (Anon...

parma had gas for $2.99 on friday...sounds like a road trip to me..............lmao

oregon ohio (An...

$2.89 a gallon in oregon ohio

Deer Guzzler (A...

How's the deer population in Oregon, Ohio? Heck, who cares, with gas THAT LOW, I'll hunt for anything!