Philo, Duncan Falls bridge to be named after late Lieutenant Michael Lutz

By Jessica Johnston, Reporter

The new bridge connecting Duncan Falls to Philo received unanimous approval from the Muskingum County Commissioners to be named the Lieutenant Michael J. Lutz Memorial Bridge.

There is currently a bridge connecting Duncan Falls to Philo that has been in place for many years. The construction of a new bridge, right next to the current one, has begun. The old bridge will remain operational while the new bridge is built and will be named after the late Muskingum County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Michael (Mike) Lutz.

“It’s truly an honor for him and for our family,” Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz, Mike Lutz’s son, said. “It’s really hard to find words to describe what it means to have something of that proportion. There’s a lot of names that could be on that and just to be considered and mentioned in that group is a huge honor.”

Lieutenant Mike Lutz was shot in the line of duty after responding to a burglary on July 12, 1994. He served 16 years in the agency, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Matt Lutz was surprised to hear from Commissioner James Porter that community members had started a petition in favor of naming the new bridge after his father.

“I have no idea it was even being done behind the scenes,” Matt Lutz said. “I was totally surprised.”


Since the bridge will technically belong to the county, the naming of the bridge was able to be approved by a unanimous vote from the three county commissioners in accordance with section 5541.04 of the Ohio Revised Code, Porter said.

The projected completion date of the project is in 2019, Matt Lutz said.

Mike Lutz will also have a section of Route 60, between Duncan Falls and Zanesville, named after him due to the passing of House Bill 347 which allows jurisdictions the right to name highways after fallen officers.

The late Deputy Sheriff Robert Tanner, of the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Department, will also have a section of highway named in his honor. Tanner was killed in the line of duty in 2002 after he was flagged down in a “residential area in Zanesville,” according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. He served eight years in the agency.

“It goes kind of above and beyond what kind of police officers they were because they were really great at what they did and they were even better people,” Matt Lutz said. “It’s really recognizing all the police officers in the state of Ohio that have paid that sacrifice.”

The naming of the highways takes a little more time than the bridge naming process as the governor has to sign off on the bill. It then takes 90 days after the signing in order for it to go into effect. Sheriff Matt Lutz said the highway naming should take place around October.