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By WALTER DOERSCHUK
A portion of state Route 800 was closed until further notice in Pike Township last week after a crack appeared in the road.
The Ohio Department of Transportation decided to close the road the night of July 25 into the morning of July 26.
A detour has been set up for travelers to take Route 800 to Interstate 77 to Route 212 and back to Route 800 to go further south.
ODOT's speculation is the problem's cause was a large amount of rain in the area, but the cause won't actually be known until an investigation of the situation is complete.
Construction had already been going on in the area to repair an existing slope along the shoulder of Route 800, and that work is estimated to be completed in September.
ODOT held a meeting on Monday to determine if one lane of Route 800 could reopen. During its meeting, ODOT determined the road would remain closed for at least one more week until further investigations had been made.
"We're looking under the asphalt to see what would be appropriate," ODOT public information specialist Brent Kovacs said. "Best case scenario is one lane of the road would open, worst case scenario is the road would remain closed until the problem is fixed."
Pike Township Board President Doug Baum hopes one lane of the road will be able to reopen in the near future.
"One lane of the road would help dramatically," Baum said. "There are a lot of frustrated motorists."
Kovacs added ODOT signs were to be put up on either Tuesday or Wednesday to direct motorists to the detour.
Local businesses in Magnolia are also concerned about the crack in the road.
Bruce Beck is one of the partners in the ownership of Crossroads Square plaza which is off the corner of state Routes 800 and 183.
"It makes it tough on business, and I hope they get it fixed soon," Beck said. "But there are no numbers on how much it affects business."
Beck also said Crossroads Square is not the only business that might be taking a hit.
"That is the main highway to the north, and I'm sure it's affecting all businesses," he said.
Crossroads' ad in this week's Press-News shows a map of the detour to get around the closed portion of the road.