Chapter 5543: DUTIES OF COUNTY ENGINEER

5543.01 General powers and duties of county engineer.

(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, the county engineer shall have general charge of the following:

(1) Construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, and repair of all bridges and highways within the engineer's county, under the jurisdiction of the board of county commissioners, except for those county roads the board places on nonmaintained status pursuant to section 5541.05 of the Revised Code;

(2) Construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, or improvement of roads by boards of township trustees under sections 5571.01 , 5571.06 , 5571.07 , 5571.15 , 5573.01 to 5573.15 , and 5575.02 to 5575.09 of the Revised Code;

(3) Construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, or improvement of the roads of a road district under section 5573.21 of the Revised Code.

(B) For any particular project, after notifying the county engineer, the board of township trustees of a township that has adopted a limited home rule government under Chapter 504. of the Revised Code may hire an independent professional engineer to be in charge of those activities listed in division (A)(2) of this section. The county engineer shall review all of the independent professional engineer's plans for improvements and provide the board of township trustees with comments on those plans within ten working days after receiving them. The county engineer shall monitor all plans for improvements in order to maintain compliance with existing construction standards and thoroughfare plans, and coordinate construction timelines within the county.

(C) The county engineer may not perform any duties in connection with the repair, maintenance, or dragging of roads by boards of township trustees, except that, upon the request of any board of township trustees, the county engineer shall inspect any road designated by it and advise as to the best methods of repairing, maintaining, or dragging that road.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.01

Effective Date: 09-20-1999

5543.011 Fuel sales to county board of developmental disabilities.

A county engineer may sell directly to a county board of developmental disabilities gasoline and diesel fuel that has been purchased for the use of the county engineer's office.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.011

Amended by 128th General Assemblych.28, SB 79, §1, eff. 10/6/2009.

Effective Date: 03-13-1997

5543.02 Annual report.

The county engineer shall report to the board of county commissioners, on or before the first day of June in each year, the condition of the county roads, bridges, and culverts, and estimate the probable amount of funds required to maintain and repair or to construct any new roads, bridges, or culverts required within the county.

The engineer , on or before the first day of June in each year, shall make an annual estimate for the board of township trustees of each township, setting forth the amount required by the township for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, or improvement of the public roads within their jurisdiction. Such estimates shall relate to the year beginning on the first day of March next ensuing, and shall be for the information of the board of county commissioners and board of township trustees, in the making of their annual levies.

The engineer shall approve all estimates which are paid from county funds for the construction, improvement, maintenance, and repair of roads and bridges by the county. The engineer shall approve all estimates which are paid from township funds for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, or improving of roads under sections 5571.01 , 5571.06 , 5571.07 , 5571.15 , and 5573.01 to 5573.09 of the Revised Code. The engineer shall also approve all estimates which are paid from the funds of a road district for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, or improvement of the roads thereof under section 5573.21 of the Revised Code.

For the construction or repair of a bridge, the entire cost of which construction or repair exceeds fifty thousand dollars, the county engineer may request the director of transportation to review and comment on the plans for conformance with state and federal requirements. If so requested, the director shall review and comment on the plans.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.02

Effective Date: 06-30-1995; 03-29-2005

5543.03 Report to director of transportation.

The county engineer shall make a report to the director of transportation, whenever requested by that official, relative to the highways and bridges in the county, containing such matter and in such form as prescribed by the director, and file a duplicate with the board of county commissioners.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.03

Effective Date: 09-28-1973

5543.04 Naming and numbering roads and bridges - maps.

The county engineer, under the direction and supervision of the director of transportation, shall name and number all the public roads of his county, other than intercounty and state highways and shall number all the bridges and culvers on such roads. All such roads shall be divided into sections where they are of sufficient length to warrant it. Such sections shall not exceed three miles in length and shall be numbered consecutively. This section shall extend to all roads on the north and east lines of each county. A map of such roads shall be made by the engineer, which shall show and identify by number, location, and length each such road and section thereof and all bridges and culverts. Such map shall show the location of public recreational trails preserved by the board of county commissioners under section 5553.044 of the Revised Code, municipal corporations, schoolhouses, churches, lakes, and rivers, and shall be made in township units.

As rapidly as the roads, bridges, and culverts of each township are located and numbered, the engineer shall enter in a book in his office, to be kept for that purpose, a description or identification thereof. A copy of such map shall be submitted to the director together with a report showing plainly and definitely the exact location of such numbered roads and sections thereof, bridges, and culverts and such other and further information as the director requires. All the duties required by this section shall be performed in accordance with the instructions of the director, who shall prescribe such forms and issue such instructions as he deems proper. Upon the approval by the director of each map and report, copies shall be filed by the engineer in his office and in the office of the board of county commissioners, and a copy of the map of each township shall be filed with the board of township trustees of such township. The road names, numbers, and section designations, and the bridge and culvert numbers shall be the official terms by which they are known. When a new road is established it shall be assigned a name and number by the engineer and if necessary divided into sections, or it may be added to an existing road, and the engineer shall note such new road, together with its official designation, on the copy of the map on file in his office and report it to the director and board of county commissioners.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.04

Effective Date: 09-28-1973

5543.05 County engineer to assign expense of road or bridge.

The county auditor shall, before drawing a warrant for any moneys expended by the county on any highways, other than intercounty or state highways, or on any bridges or culverts on the highways, require of the county engineer the assignment of the expense to the highway and section of it, bridge, or culvert in connection with which the expense was incurred. The auditor shall keep such records as are necessary to show clearly at the close of each year the amount of money expended from the county treasury on each section of highway, other than intercounty or state highways, and on each bridge and culvert on the highways.

The township fiscal officer shall, before drawing any warrant for money expended upon any road within the township, other than an intercounty or state highway, or on bridges or culverts on the roads, require of the county engineer or board of township trustees the assignment of the expense to the road and section of it, bridge, or culvert in connection with which the expense was incurred. The fiscal officer may keep such additional records as are necessary to show clearly at the close of each year the amount of money expended from the township funds on each section of road, other than intercounty or state highways, within the township, and on each bridge and culvert on the roads. The board of township trustees may require the fiscal officer to keep those additional records.

When general equipment or material for use in the entire county or township is purchased, the expense of the equipment or material need not be assigned to any section of road or to any bridge or culvert, but, insofar as practicable, all items of expense shall be assigned to the specific section of road or to the particular bridge or culvert in connection with which they were incurred.

The director of transportation may prescribe all necessary and proper forms for maps and reports to be maintained by engineers, boards, auditors, and fiscal officers. All auditors and fiscal officers may be required by the director to transmit to the director, in the form the director prescribes, the cost records they are required by law to keep pertaining to roads, bridges, and culverts within their counties or townships.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.05

Effective Date: 07-01-1985; 12-20-2005

5543.06 Annual meeting of county and township authorities.

The county engineer shall annually call a meeting, within the county, at a time and place approved by the board of county commissioners, of all the township and county authorities having directly to do with the construction and repair of roads and bridges within the county. At such meeting, which shall be open to the general public, the engineer, or his designee, shall instruct the proper authorities as to the best and most economical methods for repairing and maintaining the roads and bridges of the county, so as to provide a uniform system of highway work for such county. Each official attending such meeting shall receive his actual and necessary expenses, in addition to his regular per diem or salary, which shall be paid by the county treasurer from the road fund of the county on itemized vouchers approved by the engineer.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.06

Effective Date: 07-01-1983

5543.07 [Repealed].

Cite as R.C. § 5543.07

Effective Date: 10-27-1981

5543.08 Assistance of director of transportation.

The county engineer may request advice and assistance from the director of transportation in all matters relating to the duties of such engineer. In so far as the highways, bridges, and culverts under the control of the state are concerned, the engineer shall be governed, in the conduct of his work, by the instructions of the director, as issued for the guidance of engineers.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.08

Effective Date: 09-28-1973

5543.09 Supervision by county engineer.

(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, the county engineer shall supervise the construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, and repair of the highways, bridges, and culverts under the jurisdiction of the board of county commissioners, and the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, and improvement of public roads by boards of township trustees under sections 5571.01 , 5571.06 , 5571.07 , 5571.15 , 5573.01 to 5573.15 , 5575.02 to 5575.09 , and 5577.01 of the Revised Code. When the engineer has charge of the highways, bridges, and culverts within the engineer's county, and under the control of the state, the engineer shall also supervise their construction, reconstruction, improvement, and repair.

(B) For any particular project, with the approval of the county engineer, the board of township trustees of a township that has adopted a limited home rule government under Chapter 504. of the Revised Code may hire an independent professional engineer to assist the county engineer with the supervision of the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, and improvement of public roads by the board under sections 5571.01 , 5571.06 , 5571.07 , 5571.15 , 5573.01 to 5573.15 , 5575.02 to 5575.09 , and 5577.01 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.09

Effective Date: 09-20-1999

5543.10 Constructing sidewalks, curbs, or gutters.

(A) The county engineer, upon the order of the board of county commissioners or board of township trustees, shall construct sidewalks, curbs, or gutters of suitable materials, along or connecting the public highways, outside any municipal corporation, upon the petition of a majority of the abutting property owners. The expense of the construction of these improvements may be paid by the county or township, or by the county or township and abutting property owners in such proportion as determined by the board of county commissioners or board of township trustees. The board of county commissioners or board of township trustees may assess part or all of the cost of these improvements against the abutting property owners, in proportion to benefits accruing to their property.

The board of county commissioners or board of township trustees, by unanimous vote, may order the construction, repair, or maintenance of sidewalks, curbs, and gutters along or connecting the public highways, outside a municipal corporation, without a petition for that construction, repair, or maintenance, and may assess none, all, or any part of the cost against abutting property owners, provided that notice is given by publication for three successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within the county or as provided in section 7.16 of the Revised Code, stating the intention of the board of county commissioners or board of township trustees to construct, repair, or maintain the specified improvements and fixing a date for a hearing on them. As part of a sidewalk improvement, the board may include the repair or reconstruction of a driveway within the sidewalk easement. As part of a curb improvement, the board may include construction or repair of a driveway apron.

Notice to all abutting property owners shall be given by two publications in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or as provided in section 7.16 of the Revised Code, at least ten days prior to the date fixed in the notice for the making of assessments. The notice shall state the time and place when abutting property owners will be given an opportunity to be heard with reference to assessments. The board of county commissioners or board of township trustees shall determine whether assessments shall be paid in one or more installments.

(B) The county engineer may trim or remove any and all trees, shrubs, and other vegetation growing in or encroaching onto the right-of-way of the easement of a public sidewalk along or connecting the public highways and maintained by the county, and the board of township trustees may trim or remove any and all trees, shrubs, and other vegetation growing in or encroaching onto the right-of-way of the easement of a public sidewalk along or connecting the public highways and maintained by the township, as is necessary in the engineer's or board's judgment to facilitate the right of the public to improvement and maintenance of, and uninterrupted travel on, public sidewalks in the county or township.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.10

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Effective Date: 03-31-2003

5543.11 Grade and width of sidewalks - permission for construction.

The county engineer may establish the grade and width of sidewalks constructed along or connecting the public highways, outside any municipal corporation, and designate the character of construction, and have general supervision of such sidewalks. This section and section 5543.10 of the Revised Code relating to the construction of sidewalks, shall not prevent the director of transportation, county engineer, or board of township trustees from granting permission to the abutting property owners to construct sidewalks in front of their properties and along the public highway, but such sidewalks shall be constructed subject to the approval of the proper authorities.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.11

Effective Date: 09-28-1973

5543.12 County engineer right of entry.

The county engineer or anyone acting under his authority, when authorized by the board of county commissioners or board of township trustees, may enter immediately:

(A) Upon any lands adjacent to any of the highways in the county for the purpose of opening an existing ditch or drain, or for digging a new ditch or drain for the free passage of water for the drainage of highways;

(B) Upon any lands adjoining rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, reservoirs, or ponds, to drive piles, throw up embankments, and perform such other labor as is necessary to keep such rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, reservoirs, or ponds within their proper channels or basins, and to prevent their encroachment upon the highways, bridges, or culverts;

(C) Upon the lands adjoining a highway, which, during the spring freshets or at a time of high water, are subject to overflow from such rivers, streams, or creeks, to remove or change the position of a fence or other obstruction preventing the free flow of water under or through a highway, bridge, or culvert, whenever the engineer deems it necessary for the protection of such highway, bridge, or culvert;

(D) Upon any lands adjacent to highways, to remove any fence or other obstruction which causes snow to drift upon such highway and erect snow fences or other devices upon such lands to prevent the drifting of snow in or upon the highway.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.12

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5543.13 Agreement as to compensation and damages.

When lands are entered upon under section 5543.12 of the Revised Code, the county engineer shall agree with the owners of such lands, subject to the approval of the board of county commissioners or board of township trustees, as to the amount of compensation and damages already sustained or to be sustained by such owner, and the amount of such compensation and damages, so determined, shall be paid by the county or townships.

If the engineer is unable to agree with such owner upon the amount of compensation and damages already sustained or to be sustained, such amount shall be determined in accordance with sections 163.01 to 163.22 , inclusive, of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.13

Effective Date: 01-01-1966

5543.14 County engineer to trim or remove vegetation along roads.

The county engineer may trim or remove any and all trees, shrubs, and other vegetation growing in or encroaching onto the right-of-way of the county roads of the engineer's county, and the board of township trustees may trim or remove any and all trees, shrubs, and other vegetation growing in or encroaching onto the right-of-way of the township roads of its township, as is necessary in the engineer's or board's judgment to facilitate the right of the public to improvement and maintenance of, and uninterrupted travel on, county and township roads. The engineer or board is not required to compensate the abutting landowner for trimming or removing such trees, shrubs, and other vegetation as is necessary to facilitate these rights. The department of agriculture or other proper department may, with the consent of the proper authorities, take charge of the care of such trees to facilitate these rights. Such department may, with the consent of the proper authorities of the township, county, or state, plant trees along the public highway and may use any funds available for the development of forestry in the state to pay the expense of the planting and care of such trees. The ownership of all trees, so planted, shall remain in the public.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.14

Effective Date: 03-18-1999

5543.15 [Repealed].

Cite as R.C. § 5543.15

Effective Date: 10-27-1981

5543.16 Construction and repair of approaches and driveways - cost.

The owners of land shall construct and keep in repair all approaches or driveways from the public roads, under the direction of the county engineer. If in the construction, improvement, maintenance, and repair of any road, the approach or driveway of an abutting property owner is destroyed, the authorities constructing, improving, maintaining, or repairing such road shall compensate the property owner for the destruction of his approach or driveway, or in lieu thereof authorize the engineer to reconstruct it at public expense.

In the construction of a road improvement the director of transportation or engineer may, in all cases where the approaches of the owners of abutting real estate are unsuitable to a projected improvement or so constructed as not to afford proper drainage after its completion, include in the plans for such improvement plans for proper approaches. The entire cost of constructing such approaches may be assessed against the lands along which they are constructed.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.16

Effective Date: 09-28-1973

5543.17 Avoiding closing to traffic at any one time entire width of highway or bridge.

The county engineer shall, at the time he makes surveys, plans, profiles, cross sections, estimates, and specifications for any county, township, or district road improvement, or plans for the construction, improvement or repair of any bridge or culvert, determine whether the making of the improvement will require the closing to traffic of such highway, bridge, or culvert. The engineer shall, whenever practicable, so prepare the plans and specifications for an improvement as to avoid closing to traffic at any one time the entire width of the highway or bridge being improved. No person shall close a county or township highway, bridge, or culvert, unless that action has first been determined to be necessary by the engineer. If the engineer determines that the making of the improvement will require the closing to traffic of the highway, bridge, or culvert, he shall further determine whether it is practicable to construct within the limits of the highway or to provide a new location for and construct a temporary highway, bridge, or culvert, to be used by travelers in lieu of the closed highway, bridge, or culvert. His determination in respect to all matters above set forth shall be made in writing, and shall accompany the copy of his surveys, plans, profiles, cross sections, estimates, and specifications filed with the board of county commissioners or board of township trustees.

If the engineer determines that it is practicable to provide a new location for and construct a temporary highway, bridge, or culvert he shall include plans for the temporary highway, bridge, or culvert as part of the plan for the improvement.

If he determines that it is impracticable to construct a temporary highway, bridge, or culvert he shall include as a part of the plans for the improvement plans, specifications, and estimates for all necessary and proper barriers and detour signs. Signs must be so placed as to conspicuously indicate the points at which it is necessary for traffic to leave the closed highway, and plainly mark the most direct practicable route to be followed, indicating the road to be followed by the detoured traffic at all road crossings and forks. The costs and expenses of constructing temporary highways, bridges, or culverts, or placing barriers and detour signs shall be included in and regarded as a part of the costs and expenses of the improvement and shall be paid accordingly. All temporary highways, bridges, or culverts and all detour signs shall be maintained by the contractor until the permanent highway, bridge, or culvert is completed and reopened for traffic. No contractor or engineer shall, when the county is proceeding by force account, close any highway, bridge, or culvert until such temporary highway, bridge, or culvert has been constructed or such barriers and detour signs have been placed. Immediately upon the reopening of the highway, bridge, or culvert the contractor, or the engineer in case the county is proceeding by force account, shall immediately remove all barriers and detour signs. Only such portion of any highway shall be closed at any one time as is determined necessary by the engineer.

For the purpose of locating, constructing, and erecting temporary highways or bridges the engineer may enter upon lands adjoining or near a highway to be closed, and may, with the approval of the board of county commissioners or board of township trustees, agree with the owners of the lands as to damage caused thereby. If the proper officers are unable to agree with the owners as to the amount of damages sustained, the amount thereof shall be ascertained, determined, and paid as in the case of the condemnation of road materials.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.17

Effective Date: 11-02-1989

5543.18 Erection of signposts.

When authorized by the board of county commissioners the county engineer shall erect and maintain at intersecting roads on intercounty and state highways, suitable signposts, the design of which shall be approved by the director of transportation, showing the names and numbers of the roads and the direction and distance to nearby municipal corporations.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.18

Effective Date: 09-28-1973

5543.19 Construction or reconstruction by force account.

(A) The county engineer may, when authorized by the board of county commissioners and not required by this section or other law to use competitive bidding, employ such laborers and vehicles, use such county employees and property, lease such implements and tools, and purchase such materials as are necessary in the construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, or repair of roads by force account.

In determining whether construction or reconstruction, including widening and resurfacing, of roads may be undertaken by force account, the county engineer shall first cause to be made an estimate of the cost of such work using the force account project assessment form developed by the auditor of state under section 117.16 of the Revised Code. When the total estimated cost of the work exceeds thirty thousand dollars per mile, the county commissioners shall invite and receive competitive bids for furnishing all the labor, materials, and equipment necessary to complete the work in accordance with sections 307.86 to 307.92 of the Revised Code.

(B) The county engineer may, when authorized by the board of county commissioners and not required by this section or other law to use competitive bidding, employ such laborers and vehicles, use such county employees and property, lease such implements and tools, and purchase such materials as are necessary in the construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, or repair of bridges and culverts by force account.

In determining whether such construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, or repair of bridges or culverts may be undertaken by force account, the county engineer shall first cause to be made an estimate of the cost of such work using the force account project assessment form. When the total estimated cost of the work exceeds one hundred thousand dollars, the board of county commissioners shall invite and receive competitive bids for furnishing all the labor, materials, and equipment necessary to complete the work, in accordance with sections 307.86 to 307.92 of the Revised Code. The county engineer shall obtain the approval required by section 5543.02 of the Revised Code.

(C) "Force account," as used in this section means that the county engineer will act as contractor, using labor employed by the engineer using material and equipment either owned by the county or leased or purchased in compliance with sections 307.86 to 307.92 of the Revised Code and excludes subcontracting any part of such work unless done pursuant to sections 307.86 to 307.92 of the Revised Code.

The term "competitive bids" as used in this section requires competition for the whole contract and in regard to its component parts, including labor and materials. Neither plans nor specifications shall be drawn to favor any manufacturer or bidder unless required by the public interest.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.19

Effective Date: 03-31-2003

5543.20 Responsibility for bridge inspection.

The county engineer shall inspect all bridges or portions thereof on the county highway system inside and outside of municipalities, bridges on township roads, and other bridges or portions of bridges for which responsibility for inspection is by law or agreement assigned to the county. If the responsibility for inspection of a bridge is not fixed by law or agreement and the county performs the largest share of maintenance on a bridge, inspection shall be made by the engineer.

This section does not prohibit a board of township trustees from inspecting bridges within a township.

Such inspection shall be made annually, or more frequently if required by the board of county commissioners, in accordance with the manual of bridge inspection described in section 5501.47 of the Revised Code.

Counties may contract for inspection services.

The engineer shall maintain an updated inventory of all bridges in the county, except those on the state highway system and those within a municipality for which the engineer has no duty to inspect, and indicate on the inventory record who is responsible for inspection and for maintenance, and the authority for such responsibilities.

The engineer shall report the condition of all bridges to the board of county commissioners not later than sixty days after his annual inspection or he shall report more frequently if the board so requires. Any bridge for which the county has inspection or maintenance responsibility which, at any time, is found to be in a condition that is a potential danger to life or property shall be identified in the reports, and if the engineer determines that the condition of any bridge represents an immediate danger he shall immediately report the condition to the board. With respect to those bridges where there exists joint maintenance responsibility, the engineer shall furnish a copy of his report to each party responsible for a share of maintenance. The engineer shall furnish each board of township trustees with a report of the condition of bridges on the township road system of such township and furnish the legislative authority of each municipality in the county with a report of the condition of bridges in such municipality for which the county has responsibility for inspection.

"Maintenance" as used in this division means actual performance of maintenance work.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.20

Effective Date: 09-28-1973

5543.21 Public trail intersection markers.

The county engineer shall install and maintain suitable, uniform markers designating intersections with and accesses to state recreational trails, wherever any trail established pursuant to Chapter 1519 of the Revised Code intersects with a county or township road, or along any county or township road that such a trail follows. The county engineer shall similarly install and maintain suitable, uniform markers designating each public recreational trail preserved by the board of county commissioners under section 5553.044 of the Revised Code, wherever such a trail intersects with a county or township road. The markers shall include the words "public trail" and "motorized vehicles prohibited." The costs of such installation and maintenance may be paid from any county road improvement or maintenance and repair funds.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.21

Effective Date: 10-20-1972

5543.22 Design-build contracts.

Notwithstanding sections 153.65 to 153.71 of the Revised Code, a county engineer may combine the design and construction elements of a bridge, highway, or safety project into a single contract, but only if the cost of the project as bid does not exceed one million five hundred thousand dollars.

When required to use competitive bidding, the county engineer shall award a design-build contract in accordance with sections 307.86 to 307.92 of the Revised Code. In lieu of the requirement for plans, the county engineer shall prepare and distribute a scope of work document upon which bidders shall base their bids.

A county engineer may request the director of transportation to review and comment on the scope of work document or the construction plans for conformance with state and federal requirements. If so requested, the director shall review and comment on the document or plans.

Cite as R.C. § 5543.22

Effective Date: 03-31-2003