Kudos, again, to Milan Mayor Robert Bickley and company for chasing the Ohio Department of Transportation to the ends of the earth to determine who's responsible for fixing the U.S. 250 bridge over Rattlesnake Creek.
And a big raspberry to ODOT for the fact Bickley and company have to do this.
The bridge is crumbling around the edges and somebody's going to get hurt one of these days. At issue is whether the state or the village is responsible for making it right.
Bickley says it's up to ODOT to at least pay for the repairs, and we can't fault his reasoning. The bridge may be inside village limits but U.S. 250 is a major regional traffic artery, a problem with it will affect the entire region, and its a big enough repair to be beyond the reach of the village. Huron County highway employees worked out a temporary repair that'll do for now, but only now.
We say Bickley's right, and ODOT should step up. It's a state route, pure and simple.
(A little side note: The "U.S." in U.S. 250 means mainly that the route number crosses state lines, and doesn't turn into another number when the road reaches West Virginia. The road itself is still a state road.)
Unorthodox though Bickley's methods may have been so far, there's nothing wrong with the basics of what's going on under that Stetson hat.
One can contest the legalities of his threat to close the road, or of county employees closing the lane to put a patch on the thing. The fact is, this is the sort of thing that can't wait for the bureaucrats to cross the t's and dot the i's.
ODOT is right now bragging about how it's ahead of the curve in inspecting the state's bridges, in the wake of last year's Minnesota highway bridge collapse.
We say to ODOT, here's a bridge.
It needs help.