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ODOT preps for winter weather

IRONTON — Even though the autumn season is only a few weeks old, the Ohio Department of Transportation is already preparing for the treacherous winter driving season.

Beginning Oct. 19 and continuing throughout the fall, ODOT will be readying its statewide fleet of snow-clearing equipment and crews for the upcoming winter season.

During the next several weeks, ODOT teams will perform county-by-county Operational Readiness Events — a series of inspections, tests and fine-tuning of equipment — aimed at ensuring every snowplow, truck, and spreader is road ready.

The Lawrence County Operational Readiness Event is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 4 at ODOT’s maintenance garage in Ironton. Scioto County has their Operational Readiness Event on Thursday, Oct. 29.

This season, ODOT will have more than 1,700 plow trucks and more than 3,000 trained drivers ready to clear ice and snow from the state’s roadways and bridges. ODOT maintains nearly 43,000 lane miles of state highway, which carries approximately two thirds of the state’s daily traffic.

To date, snow-melting materials — including more than 697,000 tons of salt — have been stocked at various locations throughout the state in preparation for the 2009-2010 winter season.

Plow operators and mechanics will be double-checking equipment to make sure it works properly. On average, ODOT uses approximately 700,000 tons of salt and invests approximately $59 million per year (including labor) on ice and snow control.

Up-to-the-minute road conditions are always available by logging onto BuckeyeTraffic.org.