KINSMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two years ago this month, people living in Kinsman in northern Trumbull County awoke on a Saturday morning to see floodwaters damaging homes and businesses and washing away a number of local roads.
All of the major damage has finally been repaired. Friday morning, the final bridge to be replaced in Kinsman was reopened to traffic.
For some, it may seem like just another bridge project that has been completed, but for those in Kinsman and the surrounding area, Friday marks the end of a long journey.
More than a dozen road, culvert, bridge repair and other replacement projects have been completed — all damaged on July 20, 2019, when a torrential rainstorm ravaged the community.
That morning, the Lakelands Dam gave way, flooding Stratton Creek and washing out just about everything in its path, stranding some parts of the community for months.
“It was devastating that morning. To see this now, I mean, it seemed like a long time but it’s here now,” said resident Karen Wilson.
“They’ve done just a wonderful job and once it began it really, it went quickly and we appreciate this,” said resident Jacquie Piper.
When bridges and other infrastructure were washed away completely or damaged, the community and the county were facing millions of dollars in repair bills, and they didn’t have the money to pay for it all.
Friday’s bridge project alone cost nearly $700,000.
To show their own appreciation, officials unveiled a plaque commemorating all the work that was done after the floodwaters receded and those who helped cover the costs.
The plaque by the Kinsman Pymatuning Road Bridge reads, “This bridge stands as a testament to the fortitude and strength of the citizens and elected officials of the Township of Kinsman. Completion of this structure is the final step in making this community whole again.”
“The Ohio Public Works Commission, the state of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation all stepped up because I think we were pushing $5 million worth of improvements at the end of the day,” said Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith.
Residents had to endure two years of detours and closures until the work was finally finished. Initially, some complained the state was ignoring the small community, but with Friday’s event, life may finally be back to normal again.