YELLOW CREEK - Township trustees voted to accept a road use maintenance agreement (RUMA) on behalf of Chesapeake Energy at its meeting Tuesday evening.
The contract with CESO, Inc. of Dayton, representing Chesapeake Energy, follows a template laid out by county Engineer Burt Dawson earlier in the year. Such contracts have become increasingly common with the proliferation of such huge vehicles associated with the shale energy industry in the tri-state area.
The RUMA holds Chesapeake responsible for damage that may arise from oversize trucks and heavy equipment traveling on township roads. Per the agreement, vehicles associated with Chesapeake's operations are permitted to use 200 feet of Bolivar Road, just east of the border with Washington Township, that lead to the work site. Washington Township has negotiated its own RUMA with Chesapeake for the use of Bolivar Road within its borders.
Trustee Kenny Biacco announced that trustees had met with Mike Pusateri Excavating of East Liverpool before the meeting and come to an agreement for them to return to Hibbett's Mill Road and complete more rockslide abatement and cleanup work.
Trustees stated they were pleased with the work that Pusateri had performed for the township this past May, when the firm carried out a weeklong project to remove rocks that had fallen down the steep hillside and bring down loose overhanging rocks that trustees believed posed a hazard to motorists and residents.
Since then, however, more rocks and debris have since come loose and tumbled down next to the roadway. Biacco said that it's no surprise given the extreme setting and declined to blame Pusateri. "We knew that the hillside would bring more rocks down," he said. "Not their fault, it just happened."
The road-widening work that Pusateri also completed has already begun to crack where it sits above the creek. Biacco said the board recognizes that Hibbett's Mill is a very challenging setting in which to maintain infrastructure. "It's just a hillside," he said. "There's nothing there to work with."
According to Biacco, Pusateri is contacting the Ohio Public Works Commission to secure assistance from the Ohio Department of Transportation with fixing the roadway itself where the widening was carried out. As in May, approximately 50 feet of Hibbett's Mill would need to be closed to carry out repairs and rock removal. "We're trying to make it a decent road for the people who live there," Biacco said.
Following repeated complaints from a resident who lives near Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church, the township will erect signs outside the cemetery warning trespassers away from the property. Trustees received permission from county Sheriff Ray Stone to put up the signs warning of arrest and prosecution to people who engage in criminal acts, such as illicit drug use or sexual activity, in and around the cemetery property. Extra patrols from sheriff's deputies will also be initiated.
In other news:
* Trustees also approved erecting a total of four "SLOW: CHILDREN PLAYING" signs on Frischkorn Heights and Russell Heights following complaints from residents about the speed of traffic passing through the area.