ODOT shows off new garage

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 29, 2004

It was a house warming, of sorts.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials invited local leaders and the public to the tour their new Lawrence County garage Thursday afternoon.

The new facility at the South Ironton Industrial Park was completed last week.

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It's most obvious amenity that old site did not have is more space: it boasts a 22,600 square foot main building that "has enough inside storage and garage space to park every vehicle," transportation administrator Cecil Townsend told his guests. "They are building facilities identical to these in Hamilton County and Franklin County," Townsend said.

The new main building also has an interior bay for washing trucks and equipment, such features as a hydraulic system built into the floor for truck maintenance, and overhead crane.

The 8-and-a-half-acre site also has

two-5,800 gallon tanks for brine solution- previously, the brine solution that is sprayed on roads before an expected snowfall had to be brought in from Scioto County. There is also a 5,800 gallon tank for liquid calcium and a 78-foot salt dome that Townsend said has attracted some unexpected attention from a neighbor on the lookout for free room and board.

"One of the peregrine falcons from the bridge has followed us down here and is nesting in the salt dome," Townsend said. "I like to joke that we've got the largest bird house in the state of Ohio. But you won't find a pigeon within a mile of here."

The ODOT garage is the first tenant in the newly created South Ironton Industrial Park. Ironton Mayor John Elam was among those who gazed at the ultra-modern garage Thursday. He said welcomed this first step toward filling the new complex.

"It's a wonderful facility. I had seen the building from the outside and now that I've seen it from the inside I'm very impressed. I'm glad to have the state garage here and I look forward to giving them some new neighbors in the future."

Construction of the new $3.25 million facility began in September 2003. J&H Erectors of Portsmouth

was the general contractor for the project.

As proof that one man's trash is another man's treasure: The state has agreed to the Lawrence County Commission's request that the state donate its old garage on South Sixth Street to the Lawrence County Engineer's Office.

ODOT Spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller said all of the paperwork transferring ownership has not been completed, but the transfer should be completed in the near future.