Just when it seems as if we would escape January without a major snow storm, the final two days of the month decided to throw a monkey-wrench in that as a mix of freezing rain and white stuff blanketed the area. And while the calendar now flips to February, it's still reasonable expect a couple of more storms before spring finally arrives. Here's a look at how communities and agencies around the area are handling snow plowing this winter:
The passage of a critical road levy in November means snow removal services will remain fully intact. Had the levy failed, there would have been cuts to the way snow is cleared off the road in the township.
This winter, Coventry is running routes using five trucks. Coventry Road Superintendent Lael Stouffer said the department purchased 1,600 tons of salt like normal with the cost being $51.47 per ton.
Stouffer reminds drivers to be safe and courteous to other drivers.
There has been no changes to snow removal in Springfield this year. The township has 142 lane miles, which are being maintained by five trucks.
"As a reminder since it is very difficult to maneuver large equipment on some of the area roads, we request that residents do not park on the roads during snow removal," Springfield Road Superintendent Ted Weinsheimer said. "Also, please keep a safe distance from the trucks so that drivers can see you in their mirrors as this will aid in the safe removal during snow and ice operations."
The city of Green is gang plowing several main corridors in the city to help it have clean roads during peak traffic hours this winter. Gang plowing is where four to six trucks line up and plow the road together from the center out to the curb clearing all the lanes of travel in one pass.
Green Service Director Paul Oberdorfer said this is done prior to the morning rush and afternoon rush on Massillon Road and Arlington Road corridors where there are multiple lanes.
"The coordination increases traffic flow during these times on highly used routes," Oberdorfer said.
The service department is also making a change in residential neighborhoods to allow for more focus on the main roads during the overnight hours when the crew is smaller.
"The crews will go into subdivisions to clear a lane of travel in and out but will not clear the road curb to curb until after the snow event is over," Oberdorfer said. "This plan maintains access for residents and emergency vehicles, while reducing costs and environmental impact. Our operational standard is all roads will be cleared curb to curb within 24 hours of the end of the snow event but more typically we have everything clear in 12 hours."
Oberdorfer reminds residents to remove basketball hoops from the street and to store garbage cans in the driveway on trash day to avoid them being knocked down.
"We ask that when snow exceeds three inches you park in your driveway," Oberdorfer said. "Snow parking bans will be issued for heavy snow events and your car could be towed if it is left on the street. In addition, it is the property owner's responsibility for mailbox maintenance so please make sure that your mailbox is securely installed with the post 24 inches deep in compacted soil. This will reduce the potential for your mailbox to be knocked over by snow off the end of the plow."
New Franklin is using five of its own trucks along with three to four Summit County trucks that are under contract for primary roads.
New Franklin Service Director Jeff Olson said the city’s salt bins have been full since spring with approximately 600 tons.
"Please don't park vehicles along streets when it snows," Olson said. "It would help us a lot if people would not put snow from their driveways into road, or plow snow from driveways across the road."
Olson also reminds drivers to give the plow trucks lots of room and to turn on their headlights so plow operators can see drivers.
Lake Road Superintendent Daniel Kamerer said the department recently updated the spreader controls on the dump trucks. He said it is like upgrading a phone to a new version.
The township is using 14 trucks to clear the roads this winter season.
Kamerer said the department is still pre-wetting its salt with a brine and beat solution.
The county purchased two new tandem axle snow plow trucks with swap loader attachments in the back for either salt or a brine tank.
Throughout the county, 16 trucks are being used to clear snow and ice, and the county has four spare trucks ready if needed.
With shared maintenance agreements with townships, villages and municipalities, the county clears 710 lane miles of road.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is responsible for state routes and U.S. routes that are not in a municipality.
Public Information Specialist with ODOT District 4 Brent Kovacs said salt supplies are full, trucks are in good shape and ready for whatever mother nature sends to the area.
On average 35 to 40 trucks are used in Summit and Stark County during an average storm.
For the state, salt prices have really come down to about $30 to $40 per ton.
"Two to three years ago, we were over $100 per ton," Public Information Officer for ODOT District 4 Justin Chesnic said.
ODOT uses a wide variety of brine solutions to help treat the highways depending on temperatures and precipitation.
Chesnic reminds motorists that ODOT is not responsible for Akron roadways.
"We have worked a lot with the University of Akron and tested a lot of things," Chesnic said.
ODOT also will tandem plow as trucks from Summit and Stark County will line up and clear the entire highway in one direction and then turn around and clear the other direction.
Chesnic said drivers need to avoid distractions and slow down when conditions are slick.
Kovacs encourages motorists to download the Ohgo app for real time traffic and road condition updates. Motorists can set up a route they drive to receive push notifications if there are construction projects or accidents along the route.