NEWARK — Details still have to be worked out, but township and county officials left a meeting Thursday feeling better about the prospect of dealing with the effects of a Utica shale well in Morgan Township of Knox County.
Officials left a meeting two weeks ago in Mount Vernon with more questions than answers because no representatives of Devon Energy, the Oklahoma firm which has the permit to drill the well, were present to answer questions. Morgan Township Trustees, as well as the trustees of Washington and Burlington townships in Licking County, are especially concerned about the effect of heavy truck traffic on their roads and how they will be repaired and maintained.
Devon representatives apologized for a mixup in communication that occurred due to responsibility for the well development being switched between two divisions of the company.
They said they want to be good neighbors and are willing to pay for any improvements to the roads needed to get their trucks to the well site and to enter road use maintenance agreements to ensure the cost of any repairs after the work is completed will be paid.
Devon has identified two routes for getting to and from the site. The longer route travels on U.S. 62 from Ohio 13 to Homer Road, Homer Road to Justin Road, Justin to Melick Road and Melick onto Kirkpatrick Road, where the entry to the site will be. The shorter route leaves Ohio 13 over a bridge onto Torrens Road and onto Kirkpatrick. Homer, Justin and Melick Roads are in Burlington Township, Kirkpatrick is in Morgan Township and Torrans is on the border of Morgan and Washington townships. The bridge is also on the county line and maintenance is shared between Licking and Knox counties.
Licking County Engineer Bill Lozier explained that trucks with oversize loads will require special use permits, but the volume of other truck traffic could damage the township roads, which are either gravel or have thin pavement.