Merced DMV renovation plan will close office for seven weeks

10/21/2013 7:44 PM

10/21/2013 10:09 PM

Department of Motor Vehicles officials on Monday announced a seven-week closure of the Merced DMV office, due to scheduled renovations on the nearly 40-year-old 1313 W. 12th St. building.

DMV officials said the building will close at 5 p.m. Friday and will not reopen again until 8 a.m. Dec. 16. Renovations will be made to the building’s doors, signs, floors and the parking lot, according to the DMV.

The renovation work is expected to cost about $350,000. That number includes $150,000 in renovations that have been made to the building’s roof.

While the building is closed, Merced residents will be directed to the DMV offices in Turlock, Madera, Los Banos and Modesto.

Many Merced residents said they fear the inconvenience of driving to Turlock or Madera will be compounded by longer lines.

Merced resident Camron Griffin, 36, isn’t happy about the news, calling “the really short notice” irritating.

“That’s going to be a hassle and a big waste of gas going out to Turlock to finish this (vehicle) registration,” Griffin said. “If we’d had more time, we could’ve planned for it better, but this isn’t enough time.”

Gerardo Sandoval, 25, is also annoyed by the upcoming closure. “I don’t know why they don’t rent out another substation or something to keep it open here,” Sandoval said. “I think the DMV has the money; they should rent one or something while it’s closed.”

Kathy Gutierrez was aware of the closure, and was among those worried about long lines at the other regional offices. “Those lines in Turlock are already ridiculous,” the 32-year-old Atwater resident said. “You always automatically assume you’re going to have to wait in long lines for a long time, but it’s still frustrating when there are only three or four lines and you see other employees that look like they’re just standing around.”

Juan Jose Gonzales, 22, said the Merced office could use the fresh paint, but he wished the renovations would focus more on speeding up the waiting line. “If anything, they should work on that,” he said. “They should get more people to work on getting (customers) out of there faster.”

Gonzales worried the closure would stall his plans of obtaining a driver’s license. “I’m working on that, so if this place is closed, I can’t go anywhere else,” he said. “Maybe I just have to wait until it’s open again. There are a lot of people I know that are struggling to get their license. I think it’s unfair to just make them all wait.”

The Merced DMV office opened in 1975. The 7,428-square-foot office employs 24 people and serves about 450 people daily.

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