Defiance County commissioners do not support relocating St. Rt. 66 to the current Domersville Road.
Years ago, the idea of moving St. Rt. 66 to Co. Rd. 24 in Fulton and Henry counties and Domersville Road in Defiance County was discussed.
The three roads line up perfectly, making an almost-straight line from the Ohio Turnpike interchange in Fulton County to St. Rt. 281- East Second Street in Defiance.
The state of Ohio decided to raise road construction revenue from the sale of bonds.
The bonds are to be repaid by revenue from Ohio turnpike tolls.
With road construction money available, backers of moving St. Rt. 66 out of the village to Co. Rd. 24, which have included Archbold village officials, have been working to move the project forward.
Currently, an engineering consulting firm is conducting an engineering and environmental feasibility study.
The cost of the $1.5-million study is being paid mostly by the Ohio Department of Transportation, with a $249,217 share paid by the village of Archbold.
Opponents of the highway relocation project cite loss of traffic into downtown businesses, danger from farm equipment trying to negotiate a high-speed, high-traffic state highway to get to the Gerald Grain Center elevator along Co. Rd. 24, and loss of rural atmosphere for those who own property along Co. Rd. 24.
Supporters of the move cite the need for improved truck access to Archbold industries.
As Far As US 6
For several months, the project was proposed to go only as far south as US 6 in Henry County.
There, US 6 and St. Rt. 66 would continue to go west, then turn back south to go toward Defiance.
Originally, in a meeting between Fulton, Henry, and Defiance county commissioners, the Defiance County commissioners pointed to the Tinora schools at the intersection of Domersville and Banner School roads in Defiance County.
The Defiance County commissioners said the Tinora high school-junior high and elementary buildings are too close to Domersville Road.
That, they said, imposed a safety issue that could not be resolved.
However, in a recent Archbold Buckeye article, Jeff Fryman, Archbold mayor, hinted that the project could continue south, noting that “other plans are in the works.”
When asked Tuesday, March 29, Thomas Kime, a Defiance County commissioner, said he would “definitely not” support making Domersville Road part of the new St. Rt. 66.
“We met with Fulton County and Archbold years ago and supported the idea of it going to St. Rt. 6. But we absolutely do not support it running farther south.”
“We talked about it three or four years ago,” said Otto Nicely, another Defiance County commissioner.
Nicely said it would take millions of dollars to bring Domersville Road up to state highway standards.
Why do that, when the highway already exists two miles to the west?
But what if the state of Ohio, using money from the sale of Ohio Turnpike bonds, would pick up the cost?
“That’s news to me,” Nicely said.
“We tried to get some of that (turnpike money) for a project in Hicksville, and they said we can’t do that.”
“I stand with the other commissioners,” said Ryan Mack, the third Defiance County commissioner.
“It comes down to cost, and economic development.”
All three commissioners pointed to the stores and restaurants that are on the north side of the city of Defiance along St. Rt. 66, saying those businesses need the state highway traffic passing by.
Nicely said 22,000 to 25,000 vehicles per day travel in or through the area.
Mack said updating Domersville Road to state highway standards would require the purchase of additional right-of-way.
“Comments we’ve received from people along Domersville Road are they don’t want this,” Mack said.
They also reaffirmed their concerns about the proximity of the schools to St. Rt. 66.
Michael McCann, Defiance mayor, said while the city of Defiance supports relocating St. Rt. 66 around Archbold to St. Rt. 6, there was no discussion of including Domersville Road in the project.
“There is no support for it at the county level, so we might as well partner with the commissioners,” he said.
McCann said he would like to have an economic impact study, similar to one done for the village of Archbold, done for Defiance.
“That’s something I’ve asked for years as a councilman,” the mayor said.
“Now that I’m here (in the mayor’s office), the first week, I had the engineer start working on it.”
Nicely suggested there be a meeting of Fulton, Henry, and Defiance county commissioners.
“We need to set something up so we make sure everyone is on the same page,” he said.