By NICK DUTRO
Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership
TIFFIN – The city is getting $2 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Municipal Bridge Program for the Ella Street River Bridge Replacement Project, the maximum amount allowed by the grant program. Funds will become available in State Fiscal Year 2023.
The Municipal Bridge Program provides federal funds to municipal corporations and Regional Transit Authorities for bridge replacement or bridge rehabilitation projects. Through the program, ODOT provides up to 80 percent of the eligible costs for construction and construction inspection for up to $2 million per project. This year, the program utilized Toll Revenue Credit to provide funding for up to 95 percent of the eligible costs. Historically, the funding for this program has been approximately $10 million annually.
Currently, there are about 1,300 bridges statewide that have a municipal owner and meet the federal definition of a bridge. Eligibility for application to the Municipal Bridge Program is based upon the bridge’s general appraisal rating. Any bridge that has a general appraisal rating of 5 or less is eligible for funding. This year, 106 bridges in Ohio were eligible for funding, with two of those bridges located in the City of Tiffin — Ella Street River Bridge and Ella Street Canal Bridge.
The existing Ella Street River Bridge was originally constructed in 1914 and was rehabilitated in 1979. About 4,061 vehicles pass over the bridge daily.
The estimated total project cost for the bridge project is $4,377,900. The local share will be offset by funding from the City of Tiffin’s Road and Bridge Levy that was passed by voters in May 2018. In addition, The City of Tiffin plans to submit a grant application for a maximum $500,000 through the Ohio Public Works Commission.
The local match being provided by the Road and Bridge Levy was influential in ODOT’s review of the city’s application.
“This is a project that will have a positive impact on the lives of people who live in, work in and visit Tiffin for decades to come. The city’s forward thinking to secure local funds in advance of the project was important to making this possible,” said Nichole Lawhorn, program manager, ODOT Office of Local Programs.
“Thank you to the Ohio Department of Transportation for supporting Tiffin through this grant funding and thank you to City Engineer Matt Watson for pursuing these grant dollars and being a good steward of taxpayer funds through the Road and Bridge Levy,” said Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz.
The City of Tiffin also is moving forward with the replacement of the Ella Street Canal Bridge (which has a general appraisal rating of 5 or less and currently has load restrictions) in the summer 2020. The city plans to bid the construction contract early in 2020 to allow for the construction to take place while Tiffin City Schools is on summer break.
Construction for the Canal Bridge is estimated to be $440,000 and is to be paid for 100 percent through funding from the Road and Bridge Levy.
Nick Dutro is development manager for Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership.