BRILLIANT - The total cost of the state Route 7 hillside project, south of Brilliant, is figured around $21 million, and the highway is expected to open without crossovers in that area sometime next year, according to Jim Graham, area engineer for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Landslides - more dirt than rocks - created the problems on Route 7 south of Brilliant at least a year ago.
Graham said work will be done later on the Route 7 problems north of Brilliant. He explained it's purely a rockslide in that area, as there's not a lot of dirt on that hill to slide.
"If there's a lot of rain, the dirt will move," he said with reference to the project now under way south of the town. Rockslides such as the one north of Brilliant, Graham explained, are easier to control.
Noting that ODOT is aware that Route 7 "is the lifeline through Jefferson County," Graham went on to say that every effort will be made to ensure safety in that area.
"We ask motorists to be patient as they have been on Ohio 7. We'll make every effort to get it done as quickly as we can and get the folks back to normal on that road - that's our goal," he noted.
When work is completed south of Brilliant, there'll still be a traffic crossover north of Brilliant until work is done in that area.
The area engineer said there currently are two crossovers in the south portion.
Graham, along with Adam Lytton, project engineer for ODOT, and Bill Finnical, area construction manager, ODOT, recently conducted a public hearing during the Wells Township trustees' meeting about the Route 7 project south.
It is expected that blasting will begin in the next two weeks, depending on the weather. The blasting is being done basically to remove the loose rock that's been falling on the road, and digging out will be done, making it smooth, Graham said.
Plans are for blasting to occur five days a week. Keith Best of Sauls Seismic Inc. said during the public hearing that seismographs will be in place to record the amount of movement in the area.Traffic may be stopped for a maximum of 15 minutes at a time while blasting is occurring.
ODOT will make an unprecedented effort to treat and clear the road during icy or snowy conditions. Some deicing will be applied before an event occurs.
Beaver Excavating Co of Canton is the prime contractor for this project, and Graham said that company is experienced with this type of work, and ODOT has confidence that the project will be completed safely and efficiently.
The Canton company also will do the cutback work on the hillside north of Brilliant.
Graham said the project south of Brilliant is 3,100 feet long, while one north of the town is 3,800 feet long.