NewsLocal NewsAkron Canton News


Kungle Road bridge in Norton still not fixed 15 months after it washed away

Posted at 6:32 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 18:32:46-04

NORTON, Ohio — Fifteen months after a bridge collapsed, a massive hole remains on Kungle Road at the border of Norton and New Franklin and some residents are growing more irritated by the lack of a plan to fix the structure.

"I feel a sense of frustration," said Joel Osborne who lives on the New Franklin side of Kungle Road. "It looks terrible, and absolutely, it's getting worse."

Osborne estimated the hole is 15-feet deep and about 30-feet wide. He considers it a safety hazard because someone could fall into the ditch which has water flowing in it.

"There's not much of a barricade there besides cement blocks and any kid in the world could ride a bicycle right through there without any problem," Osborne said.

In addition, Joel is worried that a mutual aid response could take longer if there was a fire on their section of the road.

"Anytime there's an emergency situation, minutes can matter," he said.

In May 2019, the bridge started to crumble and it was closed. A month later, it collapsed from heavy rain.

In the months that followed, there was an ongoing debate over who was responsible for fixing the mess: Norton, New Franklin, or Summit County.

According to the Summit County Engineer's Office, an engineering consulting firm determined the bridge was in Norton's jurisdiction.

New Franklin Mayor Paul Adamson said he's also frustrated that no repair project appears to be in the works.

"Things have gotten tougher here during summer COVID, but by the same token, this isn't a million-dollar project. This is about a $150,000 project," Adamson said.

Adamson said it would be a tough situation for New Franklin to expend any of its city funds for a project that's not located within its boundaries.

He believes Norton should have taken action by now.

"I certainly hope that it's in their budget now. It needs to be done," Adamson added. "I would hope that it would be a situation where the city of Norton digs in and finds the funds to repair this as a good neighbor."

Heidi Swindell, from the Summit County Engineer's Office, said there is a memorandum of understanding that the county will work with the cities to identify grant funding and offer support for any grant applications.

"What kind of support is needed depends on the grant applications the cities may decide to make," Swindell said.

News 5 left messages for Norton Mayor Mike Zita and Administrative Officer Robert Fowler seeking comment for this story. As of Wednesday evening, Zita and Fowler had not responded.

Osborne said, at this point, he can only hope that a fix is in the future.

"It's up to the city of Norton and they're basically ignoring their responsibility," he said.