Washington County workers busy repairing storm damage

MARIETTA – A seemingly nonstop chain of quick, concentrated storms over the past few weeks are adding up to headaches and expenses around Washington County.

“Here you just get the road straightened up or the culverts cleaned out and you’ve got to redo it,” said Waterford Township trustee Doug McCutcheon.

Two township employees worked approximately 12 hours of overtime each this weekend trying to repair roads and culverts that suffered through weekend storms that many Waterford residents described as being like a tornado.

“It was pretty wild. We had a tornado go through in 1993 and it kind of sounded like that,” said Righteous Ridge Road resident Neil Huck.

The rain seemed to be falling horizontally Saturday afternoon and the visibility was so poor that Huck could not see his barn, 120 feet from his back door.

“It took a lot of trees down. We ended up with three tree tops in the cornfield and it laid a little bit of the corn down,” he said.

The heavy rains caused flash flooding in Flint Run and Wolf Creek near Huck’s home.

Quite a few people had water in their houses, said Waterford resident Phillip Crane.

“It ran down the highways and into houses which we’ve never known to happen before,” said Crane.

The storm hit the Righteous Ridge Road and Buchanan Road area particularly hard, he said.

“You can see in that area where it was a tornado-like effect in that it blew down trees in a path you could see,” said Crane.

In Beverly, the Starfire gas station lost the canopy that covered its gasoline pumps, said Jay Hockenberry.

Hockenberry owns Auto Choice, which sits across from Starfire on Ohio 60, and recalled going outside Saturday afternoon to see the canopy toppled over.

“We got like two-and-a-half-inches of rain in a short period of time and I think that’s what collapsed the canopy,” he said.

The gas station was open Monday, but the canopy had not been replaced and they were not selling gas, he said.

A call to Starfire’s parent company was not immediately returned.

Hockenberry said a poker run went on as scheduled in Beverly Saturday, but it took a rather interesting turn because of large amounts of water on the roadways.

“People were detouring and driving on the sidewalks because the water was so high,” he laughed.

Monday brought more heavy rains as crews worked to right the weekend damage.

“We’re in Waterford right now and we see a lot of tree damage just in localized areas,” said Washington County engineer Roger Wright Monday afternoon.

The previous week, county crews worked overtime cleaning up after a storm that hit Lowell hard, he said.

“We had to basically postpone our normal work two weeks to go around and clean up trees,” he said.

The chip and seal program will have to wait until the county catches up on storm cleanup, he said.

Marietta City Hall workers continued Monday to dodge the drippy ceiling that had caused the Marietta Police Department’s dispatchers to pack up and move on Saturday.

The building’s roof is under construction and the leak Saturday occurred because Canton contractor Budxton Roofing had not properly sealed off the roof, said Mayor Joe Matthews.

“I know it was leaking profusely again (Monday). It was running clear down the steps again,” he said.

Matthews is uncertain the extent of monetary damage done by the continually leaking roof, but said the contracting company will likely have to pay for damage and overtime hours that city crews spent cleaning up after the damage.

As long as the rains continue, so too will the leak, he predicted.

“As long as it’s raining, they can’t do much to patch it,” he said.