Source: Sherman Publications

Vote could turn future $1.5 million Oakhill Road project

by David Fleet

June 13, 2012

A few curves may soon be added to an already rough mile of rural roadway.

The mile section of Oakhill Road between Dixie and Kier roads divides both Groveland and Springfield townships. Due to the rough condition of the gravel road the section was placed on the county’s 30-year paving program list years ago.

“Typically the worst roads go on the list,” said Bob DePalma, Groveland Township supervisor. “Oakhill is a primary road so it moved up the list.”

In about 2009 the paving project was approved to start in 2014, the project was then moved up earlier to 2013, said DePalma.

“The cost to the townships is about $115,000 for the engineering plans—half the money is due now and the other half when the project is completed. Both communities agreed to the project. The rest of the money, about $1.5 million for the project, will come from the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission.”

Shortly following approval of the project, then Springfield Township Supervisor Mike Trout resigned after about two-and-a-half years in office. The board of trustees appointed Collin Walls supervisor.

But as the June 14 commitment for the project date looms, the road is getting a little rougher.

“The Springfield Township Board did not understand they would not have another bite at the apple,” said Walls. “I was not supervisor in 2009 when the board committed to the engineering funds if the federal funds would become available. The idea was a shovel ready project and Oakhill Road was set to go if the money was available. We are going to decide (on Thursday night) if we are going to participate in the construction on Oakhill Road. There are seven votes on the board with several different views. I could think of several reasons not to approve the project. For starters we just don’t have $100,000 laying around. It’s the first time the specifics of the concept plans or the general outline for the project will be discussed. Other than what was discussed three years ago it’s relatively new.”

DePalma was concerned.

“If the project is dumped both communities are out their share of $1.5 million,” he said. “Not to mention the $54,000 we already spent in engineering fees.”

“It could all be gone on Thursday night.”