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Winter ready

With rumors of a harsh winter on the way, Ohio Department of Transportation workers are ready to battle the snow and ice.

Monday, November 06, 2000

With rumors of a harsh winter on the way, Ohio Department of Transportation workers are ready to battle the snow and ice.

That doesn’t mean, however, that they would mind if Jack Frost decided to send his most chilling snow storms somewhere else.

"Every year we’re ready for the worst, that’s why we’re no more ready this year than every other year," said David Bame, transportation administrator for ODOT District 9.

But just in case, ODOT workers are busy inspecting snowplows and stocking up on grit and other materials to keep state highways clear this winter.

Bame said that at this point in the year, ODOT has already had a dry run to familiarize drivers with the routes they will take. Materials for the roads are in stock and ready to go, too, he added.

"We’re at full capacity for salt, grit and calcium," Bame said.

The calcium is in liquid form, and is put down when temperatures drop below 20 degrees. At that point, salt loses its effectiveness as a melting agent. Grit will be spread on country and two-lane roads for traction, while ODOT will spread salt on the four-lane roads.

Bame said that this year ODOT also has two part-time drivers who are on staff to drive trucks during bad weather. In the past, ODOT has only had one part-time driver.

If the weather looks like it will be bad, Bame said that staff members will stay later to spread the salt and calcium down as the weather turns bad.

"It’s important to put the material down as the sleet and snow fall," Bame said. "That way it doesn’t form a bond with the pavement. It’s easier to remove that way."

During the 1999-2000 winter, District 9 used about 21,210 tons of salt and approximately 3,140 tons of grit. That was about 5 percent less salt than in 1998-99 and 35 percent more salt than in 1997-98.