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The Suburbanite
  • What’s going on? ODOT readies for more snow

  • After Wednesday’s snow, winter has officially arrived, and ODOT is ready for more.

    In the fall, ODOT started to prepare for winter by completing 150-point inspections of all their trucks. All salt facilities were restocked and drivers performed dry runs of their routes to check for potential hazards.

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  • After Wednesday’s snow, winter has officially arrived, and ODOT is ready for more.
    In the fall, ODOT started to prepare for winter by completing 150-point inspections of all their trucks. All salt facilities were restocked and drivers performed dry runs of their routes to check for potential hazards.  
    Ohio is divided up into 12 different districts, and crews in each district are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the highways. Summit and Stark counties are part of District 4, which also includes Ashtabula, Mahoning, Portage and Trumbull counties. District 4 maintains the second largest amount of lane miles in the state and receives the second highest average amount of snowfall per season.
    Brent Kovacs, public information specialist with ODOT District 4, said the biggest change this year is the green strobe lights that are now on plow trucks.
    “We hope to have all our trucks statewide converted to the new green lights by December 2013,” Kovacs said.
    During the 2011-2012 winter season, ODOT District 4 used more than 1.5 million gallons of salt brine and more than 62,000 tons of salt on the roads.
    The use of brine is something that ODOT has been focusing on and informing the public about this year. Brine has quickly become an important weapon in the fight against snow and ice. It is created by mixing salt and water in specific machines.
    It also helps to prevent snow from bonding to the roadway surface and packing it down, which creates an icy surface. This packed snow is known as “hard pack” and is a safety concern because it can take 10 times more salt to break up once it has formed on the road.
    Another tool used by ODOT is pavement sensor technology, which helps predict winter road conditions and frost. There are 20 road weather information sensors in District 4 that monitor pavement conditions.
    Kovacs said that, even with all the upgrades to snow plows and advancements in snow and ice removal, motorists need to be alert when driving on snow- or ice-covered roads.
    “We just want to remind all motorists of our safety message this year, ‘Ice and snow, take it slow’ and ‘Don't crowd the plow,’ ” Kovacs said.   
    ODOT District 4 will have 151 trucks out battling the snow and ice this winter and will clear approximately 4,168 miles of roadway.
    Want to know what's going on? Email us at suburbanite@thesuburbanite.com and we’ll find out.