Friday, July 15th, 2011
By Shelley Grieshop
Contract awarded for logjam work
St. Marys River
  A northwest Ohio company underbid two local companies for a job to remove logjams in the St. Marys River.
J&M Excavating of Cloverdale submitted a bid of $63,496 to pull out logs and other debris from the river that winds through Blackcreek, Dublin and Union townships in Mercer County.
The area targeted for work stretches from Gallman Road to the Van Wert County line. Workers will remove all debris that is impeding the water flow and take down trees that are leaning toward the river at a minimum 45-degree angle.
The county engineer's office estimated the project would cost $75,460.
The highest bid opened Thursday at the county commissioners' office was $73,865 from VTF Excavation of Celina. The remaining bid was $67,975 from Bennie Young of Mendon.
The contract is expected to be awarded to one of the companies in the next few weeks after review by the engineer's office. The project must be completed within one year.
Officials say the number of obstructions in the river has increased and contributed to periodic flooding. In February, logjams in the St. Marys River forced excess rainwater into the Miami-Erie Canal and contributed to massive flooding in the city of St. Marys. More than 100 homes sustained flood damage.
The problem has escalated since the ice storm of January 2005 because funding to pay for the work has been scarce, explained Vern Eichler of the engineer's office.
Money for the planned project will be derived from an accumulation of ditch maintenance assessments paid by property owners along the river.
Mercer County is responsible for 23 miles of the river within its borders. Auglaize County handles maintenance for 22 miles and Van Wert is responsible for seven miles.

This story was edited July 19, 2011. The original version had the St. Marys River and the Miami-Erie Canal transposed.
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