The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

January 23, 2013

I-90 travel center is still staffed, but for how long?

CONNEAUT —  Two employees are still offering travel assistance to visitors at the rest stop/truck weigh scales on Interstate 90 just inside the state line in Conneaut, but how long they stay on the job is in question.

This week the Columbus Dispatch reported the Ohio Department of Transportation is in the process of shutting down the travel information centers that operate within their rest areas in an effort to re-direct revenue to road and bridge projects. Half of the 32 impacted employees have either retired or accepted other ODOT jobs, the paper said. Travel centers are found inside 11 rest areas, mostly near state lines.

The travel center that occupies a room inside Conneaut’s rest area is still operating, Brent Kovacs, ODOT District 4 spokesman, said Tuesday. “They’re still handing out information,” he said.

Kovacs said he knew of no plans to close the travel center.

In October, ODOT initially confirmed a report that the center was closing, only to rescind that statement the next day. City officials were upset with the report, saying the loss of the center would hurt the city’s tourism business.

Mark Winchell, executive director of the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Tuesday the state’s travel centers are “vitally important to the tourism industry.”

“They are gateways to the state of Ohio,” he said.

Winchell said his office, along with other tourism-related agencies, are in “heavy dialog” with ODOT regarding the future of the centers. “We would like to see a commitment to keep the (Conneaut) center open,” he said.

Eliminating the travel centers will save the state some $2.1 million in payroll and benefits, according to the Columbus Dispatch article. Last year the state announced it would seek proposals from businesses interested in opening restaurants or gas stations at selected rest areas, but no proposals were received.

Last fall, a Massachusetts company, Travelers Marketing, reached an agreement with ODOT to place advertising at rest stops along interstate highways, the newspaper reported. The deal could net the state $13 million over seven years, according to the newspaper.

1
Text Only
Local News
Canoe Race and Ashtabula Easter Events
Good Friday Cross Walks and Easter Egg Hunts
Spring Comes Alive
Ashtabula Spring Cleaning
The Taping of the Teacher: A sticky Sitation
Saturday Fun in Ashtabula County March 22, 2014
American Red Cross Ashtabula County Heroes Breakfast
Rotary Club Dodge Ball Tournament
18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Geneva State Park
End of year weather extremes
Christmas 2013
Harpersfield Barn Fire
Route 11 Rescue Plymouth Township
Ashtabula Fire
House Ads
AP Video
NDN Video
Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon