Last updated: March 24. 2014 10:01PM - 1448 Views
By William Laney wlaney@civitasmedia.com

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LIMA — City road crews cannot fix deteriorating asphalt at railroad crossings within Lima, a city administrator explained Monday.

Public Works Director Howard Elstro informed Lima City Council members during their meeting Monday about a law regarding filling potholes around railroad crossings in different areas of the city.

“City crews are not allowed to repair railroad crossings, and this is by law,” Elstro said. “This does not mean the community is helpless. The community can do one of two things when it comes to addressing potholes as they see them at railroad crossings: They can call the PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) directly, or you can call our Streets Division at 221-5165 and let us know of any crossing that needs attention.”

Area residents can call PUCO at 800-686-PUCO (7826).

Elstro said if area residents contact the city, then workers will file reports with the track master with the Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad. City administrators have already had conversations with CF&E, who indicated they have sent out crews to work on the crossings throughout the city.

Elstro told councilors the Main Street crossing “was substantially repaired,” and he will have Deputy Streets Director Saul Allen and his crews check the other crossings.

Elstro also used the opportunity to address the pothole situation throughout the city.

“Our crews, like the railroad crews, at this time of the year are restricted to using what is a called a winter mix, which is not as durable as the hot mix product we get from asphalt plants,” Elstro said. “Asphalt plants are not open yet, but Saul Allen did relay to me this afternoon he anticipates that perhaps next week the asphalt plants would be active. When that happens, our crews as well as the maintenance crews throughout the region will be using hot mix, which means those potholes will not need to be repaired in days or weeks, and they should stay in place for the upcoming season.”

He anticipates problem alleys to be addressed starting in two weeks. It will likely take two months to address the problems in all of the city alleys.

During the meeting, councilors also authorized Mayor Dave Berger to sign a city contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation to purchase rock salt for the 2014-15 winter season through the State Cooperative Purchasing Program.

Elstro explained Lima would have to purchase more salt than what it will need because it has to replenish rock salt borrowed from ODOT to get through this winter.

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