ASHLAND — The city is getting closer to fixing a Main Street sinkhole issue once and for all, officials believe.
Shane Kremser, the city’s engineer, said the search for construction crews could start in September, once council comes back from its August recess.
Council returns to session on Sept. 5.
To refresh, heavy rains in May 2021 caused a culvert along Town Run on Main Street to fail, which subsequently formed a gaping sinkhole. The situation led to the city’s acquisition of the four private properties built on top of or beside the culvert for a total of $190,000.
Another adjacent property was donated to the city. All those buildings have since been demolished and replaced with a gravel lot.
How much will this cost?
The city sought a grant (of $500,000) from the Ohio Public Works Commission in September 2021 and received it in July 2022. The grant will help pay for the replacement of the old culvert that failed there, Kremser said.
City council, during its July 18 meeting, authorized officials to secure a $600,000 loan to help pay for the rest of the estimated $1.1 million project. Ashland Mayor Matt Miller said the city’s wastewater funds will repay the loan.
Although the section of pipe being replaced does not run underneath Main Street, crews will likely need to redirect traffic when construction starts, Kremser said.
Those details are still being sorted, however, he said.
Time is of the essence
Meanwhile, the culvert continues its precarious conveyance of stormwater there.
“It’s caving in in more areas,” Miller said. “When we had our equipment down there to clean it up, major sinkholes started developing all over — when the equipment was on top of it.”
The mayor told council members work could start by the end of the year.
Once finished, the section will have not only a replaced culvert, but rebuilt retaining walls on each side and new railing, according to planning documents.