By a two to one vote, the Putnam County Commissioners approve the widening of County Road Five. However, not before residents once again got their say during a two hour and forty five minute meeting--repeatedly voicing their frustration with the project.
" I have lived on that road for the better of 20 years. It's just it's unreal, unreal," said Linda Marie Core, Pandora resident.
Studies about the project were reviewed, and testimony was heard from members of the county engineer's office who say the project is necessary for safety reasons. They point to the high number of semi trucks that drive down the road going to and from the Leipsic Industrial Park. However, residents say widening the road will encourage more truck traffic making the road even more dangerous.
Commissioner Vince Schroeder voted to approve the project.
"If you widen the road two feet-- each lane two feet it'll make it 20 percent safer because you have less chance of error," said Schroeder.
Between 2005 and 2010, 17 crashes were reported along the road.
Commissioner John Love also cited safety for his yes vote.
"Our position has always been about safety and the traveling public and this is one way we believe we can achieve this on County Road 5," said Love.
Commissioner Travis Jerwers dissented and said the other two commissioners were keeping him in the dark concerning certain aspects of the project.
"The last two hearings, I did not know there would be any votes taken until I entered this chamber. Now, that is not right for a Board of Commissioners to make a cohesive decision," said Jerwers.
During the meeting heated words were exchanged between residents and commissioners, commissioners and commissioners, and lawyers for both the county and residents who have filed suit.
In the end, work has already begun on the project. But residents feel at least their opinions are being heard outside of the commissioners office.
"Perhaps the sole redeeming factor is that we're able to talk to you folks (the media) and make sure the public gets access to our side of things," said Andy Borgelt, upset resident.
Commissioner John Love contended throughout the meeting that the final hearing wasn't necessary since a resolution on Road 5 had previously been approved. He says this is now the final decision on the project. However, lawsuits are pending in Putnam County Common Pleas Court.