MILLWOOD — Operations have ceased at the Millwood garage of the Ohio Department of Transportation. ODOT District 5 Director Joe Rutherford recently made the announcement which will move most of the Millwood activity to the New Castle garage, just across the Coshocton County line. The Mount Vernon garage may also absorb a portion of the workload.
“The New Castle outpost is bigger and more capable of handling the operations,” said Rutherford as one of the reasons for closing the Millwood post. “Trucks and front-end loaders have gotten bigger over time, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maneuver vehicles within the site.”
Another reason Rutherford cited in closing the facility is that “This building is way too small. Structurally, it is failing and is unsafe; it’s just too small for the purposes required.” He explained that the garage holds 75 tons of salt, which is far from optimal in a large snow event.
In looking at options of moving operations to other sites or building another structure at Millwood, the continuation of activity at Millwood proved to be impractical. “If we were to build a salt dome adequate for our purposes, it wouldn’t fit on the site; it would be unusable,” said Rutherford.
Only four employees will be affected by the move, with no layoffs being planned, according to Rutherford. Employees will have the option of working out of the New Castle garage or reporting at the Mount Vernon location. Area residents should not notice any lack of service with the move.
“It was a convenient location from which you could plow and treat the roads during the winter on the eastern side of Knox County,” said Rutherford. Summertime road maintenance in the area would also center around this location.
Facilities management crews with ODOT will soon be demolishing the old structure at the Millwood site. It is not known yet as to what will be done with the property. “It’s too small for our purposes, but it might be suitable for some local government to use,” said Rutherford. He added that pursuing a larger property near Millwood sometime in the future would not be out of the question for consideration.
ODOT District 5 includes Knox, Licking, Fairfield, Perry, Muskingum, Coshocton and Guernsey counties. Residents in Knox County are served from the main post in Mount Vernon as well as an outpost in Fredericktown. County workers also have access to garages in New Castle in Coshocton County and Utica in Licking County.