MIAMI COUNTY — Since 1951, Miami County voters have approved a .45 mill bridge levy every five years. They’ll be asked to consider it again Nov. 3.
Since its first passage, it has collected over $24 million, County Engineer Paul Huelskamp said. This has allowed the county maintain its 3,038 bridges and culverts for the last 64 years.
“Ours is one of the best county maintained systems in the state of Ohio,” he said.
This .45 mill, five year renewal levy generates approximately $922,270 per year for the replacement and repair of the county’s bridge system. The levy’s millage has not gone up since 1951.
Funds generated by the bridge levy will directly benefit the taxpayers of Miami County, Huelskamp said.
While some is spent directly on projects, Huelskamp noted that much of the money generated by the levy is used to bring federal dollars back to Miami County. A recent example of this is the Eldean Road Bridge project.
The total construction cost of that project was more than $2.4 million, but the local share for the construction was just $148,000, or 5 percent of the cost. Most federally funded projects require a 20 percent local match.
“This levy brings great returns to the county,” Huelskamp said.
The county maintains 222 bridges, which are 20 feet or greater in span, 22 of which are long-span river bridges. The county also maintains 123 smaller bridges and more than 2,500 culverts.
Many challenges lie ahead, Huelskamp noted. The county has a five year bridge program planned, which includes 20 bridge projects at an approximate cost of $4 million. In addition, the average age of the county’s bridges is 41-years-old.
Currently in Miami County there are 16 bridges posted for a reduction of legal load limit. Bridges that have not been posted can typically handle 80,000 pounds.
Many of the bridges are restricted to 6 or 7 tons per axle, including two on Owens Road, another on Casstown-Sidney Road, and several others. Three bridges are posted at 4 or 5 tons per axle and include the covered bridge, and bridges on Wright and Frederick-Garland Roads.
All of the posted bridges, with the exception of the historic Eldean covered bridge, are due for replacement in the future.