Courtesy of Republic Services (public document provided to trustees) The parcels outlined in yellow are part of the Lorain County Landfill and the red line represents the proposed 0.85-mile closure on Butternut Ridge Road. The dashed red line is an additional 0.4 miles that’s being considered.
More than a mile of pavement could be permanently closed to the public on Butternut Ridge Road at the request of Republic Services.
Dave Kidder, municipal services manager for Republic, told trustees on Aug. 18 that the landfill will be out of dirt to cover the garbage pile at the Lorain County Landfill by October 2016 and they want to excavate fill dirt from property to the north, across Butternut Ridge Road.
Nearly 20 New Russia Township residents attended a trustees meeting last Tuesday to voice their disapproval of the plan.
Kidder said Republic has two options: obtain approval from the Lorain County engineer and maintain traffic or get approval from New Russia and Carlisle townships, the county engineer, and county commissioners to permanently close the road.
Republic believes permanently closing 0.55 miles of road in New Russia and 0.30 miles in Carlisle is the best option.
An additional 0.4 miles on Butternut could be closed if an adjacent property owner agrees to it, said a Republic Services traffic analysis report given to trustees.
Spokeswoman Jennifer Eldridge said Republic wants to close the road for the safety of drivers and workers.
“We are very, very concerned about safety,” she said. “Safety is definitely our top priority.”
Republic workers are expected to cross the road 160 times during construction — approximately 20 times per hour — and 80 times during the landfill’s normal hours once construction is complete.
The traffic analysis stated construction vehicles travel at 15 mph, which will impact normal travelers on the road but will not significantly affect school and utility routes.
If the Butternut stretch is closed, drivers will have to use Oberlin-Elyria Road, Russia Road, and Lorain Street as alternative routes.
The closure would add eight minutes to a trip around the site using Russia Road for eastbound traffic. Using Lorain Street would take an additional six minutes, according to the traffic analysis.
Emergency service vehicles would be affected by the closure, the report admitted.
Trustees asked Lorain County prosecutor Jerry Innes to attend last week’s meeting to discuss what the township can and cannot do about closing the road.
Innes said the final decision to vacate the road will be made by the Lorain County commissioners but usually they ask for input from trustees.
“It’s certainly not a little side street,” he said. “It’s going to impact a lot of people… If they think it’s in the best interest of the public then they could temporary close it.”
Republic Services general manager David Vossmer said dirt is used daily to cover the trash taken into the landfill to help cut smells and keep birds and other animals out of the garbage.
“We’re in a constant use of dirt,” he said. “We’re using several hundred yards of dirt a day.”
Digging fill dirt from the northern site will create a large hole, several residents pointed out. But there were no answers about what would be done to fill that new hole.
Vossmer said Republic is trying to stay a step ahead of the landfill’s needs and expand its life another 10 years.
Innes said when the commissioners receive a petition to vacate the road they will notify trustees.
Republic Services wants the trustees’ approval to shut down Butternut Ridge Road by December and county approval by May.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.