County Tables Road Closure Request

The Belmont County Commission on Wednesday tabled a request from Oxford Mining to temporarily close a portion of a road in Union Township so that Oxford can strip mine the road.

The project involves a section of Belmont 104, also known as Smith Road. If Oxford Mining were to receive permission for the project, strip mining wouldn’t start for at least a year, according to Lonnie Fields, a representative with Oxford Mining. He expects the road to be closed for three-to-six months once the mining begins.

Retired coal miner Pat Kovacs, a resident of the area, spoke for a group of neighbors who aren’t opposed to the mining, but who are concerned about the impact coal trucks will have on their roadways. They encouraged commissioners to set in writing terms for routes which the trucks must take, containing any damage to one area.

Commissioners agreed to continue their decision on the temporary road closing until resident concerns are addressed.

Also Wednesday, commissioners agreed to enter into a roadway use maintenance agreement for pipeline, compressor projects and infrastructure with Rice Olympus for the use of 0.57 miles of Belmont 78, also known as Chapel Hill Road. The agreement is for the purpose of ingress and egress for pipeline activity at the Blue Thunder to Bigfoot pipelines.

Commissioner Matt Coffland also was authorized to sign the Oakview Juvenile Residential Center’s initial budget request to the Ohio Department of Youth Services in the amount of $1,108,732.