The cold and snow have arrived across Ohio.
As many people run inside to hide for the winter months, plow operators head outside to battle the snow and ice. Snow creates a challenge for motorists and pedestrians, and plow operators have their work cut out for them to maintain the roads.
Every snow event is different and requires a different plan of attack to clear the streets.
MANPOWER AND COST
"We use five city trucks along with two Summit County trucks under contract with the city to clear the snow," New Franklin Service Director Jeffrey Olson said.
New Franklin has a contract with Summit County to use its trucks and drivers to remove snow on primary roads throughout the city. Two primary routes and five residential routes make up New Franklin. Springfield Township Road Superintendent Ted Weinsheimer said Springfield has five drivers that clear five routes throughout the township during a snow event.
Green has a new multipurpose truck it hopes will help aid in snow removal thanks to its versatility. The city purchased a new 2013 International Tandem 10-ton swap loader truck with Epoke Virtus brine unit, Epoke Combi spreader and stainless-steel bed at a cost of $320,000.
"The new swap loader dump truck is used for both spraying brine and spreading pre-wet salt, making one truck chassis used for two purposes in snow and ice," Green Deputy Service Director Paul Oberdorfer said. "The truck also has a standard dump bed that is used for highway maintenance."
In Lake Township, the fleet consists of 11 trucks used to clear most of the roads throughout the township. There also are several smaller trucks used to clear alleys. This year, the township purchased three brine tanks and a pumping station, and Lake Road Superintendent Daniel Kamerer said the township plans to mix ecofriendly brine with road salt. Green also increased its brine storage from 5,500 gallons to 47,500 gallons this winter.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has 21 trucks in Summit County and 22 in Stark County that clear the highways and state routes in each county. Drivers work 12-hour shifts during snow events to keep the roads clear.
"Our goal is to have two drivers for every route, and this total is around 40 drivers per county made up from full-time and seasonal employees," ODOT District 4 Public Information Specialist Brent Kovacs said.
Each community focuses on clearing the main routes first before clearing residential streets. There is no concern of a salt shortage in this area, as many road departments are prepared to purchase more salt if their stock runs low.
Coventry Township has set aside $65,000 for salt compared to $72,000 from last year.
"We are seeing a price break I believe due to low demand after two mild winters," Coventry Road Superintendent Lael Stouffer said.
Page 2 of 2 - UNIQUE CHALLENGES
Challenges vary among departments, but New Franklin's biggest battle is deciding how to schedule enough men to work two shifts.
"You have to let them go home for eight hours at some point as we try to figure out when they are needed most to do the snow removal," Olson said.
It can be an uphill challenge for many road departments when snowfall rates increase and snow covers the roads before a plow driver can make another pass on the route.
"We receive calls where residents state that a truck never cleared their road, when in reality is that the truck was there, but the road covered over before the driver returned to that point in the route," Oberdorfer said.
Often during a snow event, roads can remain covered despite plowing and salting. Drivers are encouraged to stay back and give plow drivers room to operate. Oberdorfer said drivers should stay back a minimum of 50 feet, but recommended 100 feet.
"I would just like to remind the public to give the guys room to operate because it is very hard to see cars from in a truck," Olson said.