The County Engineer is the responsible engineer for all public improvements under the authority of the board of county commissioners within and for the county, except for engineering duties affecting public buildings. The County Engineer works with the County Commissioners and Township Trustees to carry out a wide variety of obligations.
The County Engineer participates in county and regional planning commissions and provides tax map drafting services for the county. In some counties, the County Engineer may also be involved in the establishment and maintenance of petitioned and assessed ditches, sidewalks, and even county airports. He may also serve as County Sanitary Engineer, working with the County Commissioners to supervise the construction of sewer and water lines. The approval and operation of landfills and incinerators may also be a function of the County Engineer's office.
History of the County Engineer
The office of County Engineer evolved from the important role played by the County Surveyor in the first decades of Ohio's statehood. As early as 1785, Ohio served as a "laboratory" for the development of the Public Lands rectangular survey system, and well into the 1800's, the County Surveyor was charged with the tremendous task of clarifying land titles and boundaries. After 1820, a movement for "internal improvements" swept through the state, and County Surveyors became increasingly involved in transportation related projects, specifically in the development of canals and roads.
By the late 19th century, the major duty of the County Surveyor was the building and maintenance of roads, bridges, and drainage ditches. In 1831, the legislature voted to make the office elective because of the increased responsibilities it entailed. On August 30, 1935, the title was changed to "County Engineer".
County Engineer Requirements
Ohio has the most rigorous standards in the United States for qualifying its Professional County Engineers. In order to be eligible to hold this elected office one must be fully licensed as both a "Registered Professional Engineer" and a "Registered Professional Surveyor". This requires a minimum of a college degree in engineering and in surveying, plus four years experience in engineering, four years experience in surveying, and 16 hours of testing for each license. The average County Engineer in the State of Ohio has over 20 years experience in both fields.
County Engineer Responsibilities
The 29,000 mile County Highway system is one of four distinct highway systems in Ohio, and is the responsibility of the state's eighty-eight County Engineers. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is responsible for the 19,000 mile State Highway System. The Township Trustees collectively oversee the maintenance of the Township Highway System with its 39,000 miles of roads. Municipalities maintain the streets and alleys within their boundaries, which together would span over 21,000 miles.
County Highways: The County Engineer is responsible for the maintenance, repair, widening, resurfacing, and (re)construction of pavements and bridges in the County Highway System. Maintenance duties include traffic control, safety projects, mowing and snow removal.
Township Highways: The County Engineer serves as an advisor to the Township Trustees for the maintenance, widening and repair of their highways.
Bridges: The County Engineer is fully responsible for the bridges on both the County and the Township Highway Systems, and under an outdated law, may under certain circumstances also be charged with the upkeep of specific bridges within municipalities, including some that are a part of the State Highway System.
The County Engineer performs the annual inspection and evaluation of the condition and load-carrying capacity of each bridge. The annual inspection report information must be sent to the ODOT central office in Columbus.
3062 Clary Road
Jackson, Ohio 45640
Phone: (740) 286-4139
Melissa B. Miller, P.E., P.S.