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Jefferson County

Jefferson County

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Behind the Barrels: When will the work on Ohio 7 in Jefferson County be completed?

Updated: Tuesday, August 19 2014, 10:40 AM EDT

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio -- It's orange barrel season in Ohio, and along a stretch of Ohio 7 in Jefferson County, it seems like construction has been non-stop with no end in sight.
NEWS9 went behind the barrels to show what crews have run into and when the construction zone will come down.
A major landslide in 2011 has resulted in construction crews being on the scene for nearly 3 years, and they won't be leaving anytime soon.
"Two million cubic yards of fill being removed off of that hillside has to be blasted and excavated, and of course, that takes some time," said Lloyd MacAdam, ODOT District 11 deputy director.
"Of course we didn't hardly get to work any at all because of the severe winter we had."
But what caused this hillside to suddenly let loose in the first place?
"There are abandoned mines up at the top of that hillside," MacAdam said. "As a matter of fact, those abandoned mines have been leaking water for many years now. Those abandoned mines actually caused the initial landslide back in 2011."    
In addition to the landside, rockslides to the north and to the south of the construction zone will extend the amount of time traffic will be restricted.
And officials ran into an unexpected delay when they began to assess the work that needed to be done in one of those areas.
"We noticed that when we were out there observing and looking, we actually noticed a bald eagle's nest, and an active couple and they actually had some young in there," MacAdam said.
Before any work can begin, crews will wait until the birds are finished with their nesting rituals.
Work will continue to the south as the three projects totaling more than $72 million progress.
"All three of these projects will lay the hillside back significantly," MacAdam said.
Despite drivers' frustration at the perceived lack of progress, an overhead view of the work reveals the true scope of the project.
 "We understand that they have been very patient with us," MacAdam said. "We're doing everything we can do speed these projects up. Unfortunately when you're dealing with this major of a construction project, you must follow the proper procedures and guidelines. We are moving as fast as we can possibly move to get these major projects done."
Crews anticipate wrapping up the work on the landslide this summer. However, they say that the construction will remain up as they continue their works on the two projects to the north and south.
All four lanes of Ohio 7 are anticipated to reopen by July 2016.

Behind the Barrels: When will the work on Ohio 7 in Jefferson County be completed?

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