Settlement resolves Waterworks Hill Road lawsuit
MILL TWP. ‒ A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit over the road slippage of Waterworks Hill Road south of Uhrichsville.
In 2021, Tuscarawas County commissioners sued the Twin City Water & Sewer District and two companies involved in the removal of a low head dam on Big Stillwater Creek in Uhrichsville. The dam, owned by the water and sewer district, was removed in October 2020 on the recommendation of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which paid for the project.
Shortly after the dam's removal, about 1,200 feet of pavement on Waterworks Hill Road (County Road 37) began to crumble. The road runs along the creek.
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The road has been closed since 2020, impacting at least four families living on the highway.
Under the terms of the settlement, which was approved by commissioners on Dec. 5, Enviroscience Inc., the engineer on the dam removal project, will pay the county $620,000; RiverReach Construction, the contractor, will pay $275,000; and the Twin City Water & Sewer District will pay $5,000.
The lawsuit had gone to mediation on Nov. 15, and the mediator proposed a settlement. All the parties in the suit then agreed to it.
In August, commissioners awarded a contract to Beaver Excavating to relocate nearly a half a mile of the road, moving it back about 40 feet from the creek.
According to county Engineer Joe Bachman, work is nearly complete on the project. It's paved with the exception of about 800 feet near Newport. The road should open to the public in the near future.
The last 800 feet will run on gravel through the winter. The county will finish paving in the spring, he said.
"The weather caught up with us," Bachman said. "We had some really, really difficult construction, really soft soils and that's kind of what took us an extra two or three weeks."
If the area would have had normal soil conditions, the project would have been finished this year, he said.
Bachman said he was relieved that the issues with Waterworks Hill will soon be resolved.
"The design and construction and lawsuit have basically taken a lot of our time in the last two years, so it is really, really nice to get the whole thing behind us," he said. "It's a relief I think for everybody in here because it was at the front of our minds for the last two years to get that road open."
This article originally appeared on The Times-Reporter: Settlement reached to resolve lawsuit over Waterworks Hill Road