Despite a warmer November, December and January featured some snow and then bone-chilling temperatures.
While it is anyone’s guess what the rest of winter has in store for the area, local cities and townships are ready for whatever Mother Nature throws this way.
City Deputy Service Director Bryan Kepler has his hands full this winter season with a lot of changes. New Franklin decided this year to take over the county roads for snow removal, which added an additional 102 lane miles of road.
In addition to the additional lane millage, Kepler has two new full-time employees and three new seasonal employees who have not worked for the city, let alone plowed or salted the city’s roads. Recently, he also had an employee of 31 years retire.
"This year is going to be a learning curve for everyone here," Kepler said. "With that being said, you have to remember the county was going to charge us $239,000 at the bare minimum to do our county roads."
He said that figure was based on the last two mild winters and with this one starting the way it is, that figure would have likely been a lot higher at the end of the snow season. The city purchased 400 tons of salt, which filled its order from last year, and has also received 600 tons so far for this year. The price this year is $3 less at $48.47 per ton.
The city purchased two new trucks this year to add to the six trucks the city already has.
"I think the change has gone well, considering this being a year of transition," Kepler said. "I just want the residents to know we are trying our best and know this transition will take a little time to work the issues out that we come across."
Springfield will use four trucks to clear the roads of snow and ice. One change that has been made this year is the township has reduced the number of plow routes from five to four, which will increase the time for the snow clearing process.
Springfield Road Superintendent Ted Weinsheimer said his department had five guys before, but now only has four and is not replacing the fifth person due to budget constraints. He said the township used to only have four routes, but with new allotments built, a fifth route was added. The fifth route, which was dropped, was split up between the other four routes.
"It is just going to take longer," Weinsheimer said. "People have to be more patient."
He said it normally takes about 12 hours to get through the routes for several inches of snow. On some of the roads, he said, trucks have to back in and then plow out. The township purchased 1,500 tons of salt at $51.47 per ton this year.
"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 when snowfall is expected and 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 of snow during snow and ice operations," Weinsheimer said.
This will be the first winter season in Green for new service director Valerie Wax Carr. She doesn’t plan any major changes as she wants to see how the current system works for clearing the streets.
The city will run one EPOKE truck, two tandem trucks, 10 five-ton trucks and three one-ton trucks during snow events. Service Supervisor for Storm Water and Highway Dave Perrine said it is important to keep in mind the one-ton trucks are used for the parks, fire stations and city buildings. He said they do not plow main roads.
This year the city purchased 2,000 tons of ClearLane Salt at $60.75 and 2,713 tons of white salt at $48.47 per ton. Both salts are down $3 from las year. ClearLane is a green colored salt, which is used when temperatures drop below 20 degrees. The city also makes its own brine, which can work to negative 15 degrees.
Wax Carr said she would like to do more pretreating this year, which will help the city not have to use as much salt. Areas the city plans to treat include main roads, intersections, bridges and hills, but it is all depending on the storm.
"We want to create a bond on the roads so when the snow falls it won’t ice up as quickly," Wax Carr said.
The city runs two shifts when it snows, which helps save on overtime Wax Carr said. This year, the city purchased two new five-ton trucks. Residents are encouraged to remove portable basketball hoops and parked cars from the street to have the street cleared properly.
Perrine said the goal is to have all streets cleared 24 hours after the final snow flake falls.
This winter season Coventry will run five routes with five trucks. The township did not add any new equipment this year due to financial constraints, but hopes to purchase equipment before next winter as it will start receiving money from a road levy, which was approved in the November election.
"If a truck goes down the others have to spread and provide that coverage, this can result in delayed service for some areas and happens often due to the fact that we have some trucks that are very aged," Coventry Road Superintendent Lael Stouffer said.
Stouffer said the township purchased salt this year for $48.47 per ton and the township typically has an allotment of 1,600 to 1,800 tons on hand.
Throughout Lake Township, 10 trucks will be on the road along with two smaller trucks during snow and ice events. Trustees committed to 3,000 tons of salt at $52.47 per ton.
No changes were made this year to the process snow is removed and no new equipment was added.
The county will use 15 trucks to clear the roads during active snow events. No new trucks were purchased this year, but six new spreaders and three new steel dump beds were purchased for existing trucks.
Beginning the winter season, the county had 8,900 tons of salt on hand with a commitment to purchase an additional 7,500 tons during the snow season at $48.47 per ton.
The county reminds drivers to stay aware of their surrounding and give the plows plenty of room to work.
Throughout district, four the state will have 145 trucks on the road with 25 of those in Summit County, 23 in Stark County and 22 in Portage County.
ODOT purchased several new snowplow trucks to replace older ones, which is done on an annual basis. Within the district, 82,000 tons of salt were purchased and the price varied per county but were generally between $35 and $37 per ton.
Public Information Officer for ODOT District 4 Justin Chesnic said when the temperature dips below 20 degrees salt starts to become less effective and ODOT begins using beet juice and calcium.
"Please give our plows room to clear the roads, its best to stay behind them during a storm," Chesnic said. "Also be careful around plow trucks since they make sudden stops and turns."
He also reminds motorists to visit www.ohgo.com to check cameras, winter road conditions and traffic speeds.