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Crews work to clear roadways

Lawrence County is on a level 2 snow emergency and more than 100 snowplow operators from the Ohio Department of Transportation – District 9 continue their efforts to fight snow and ice this morning as a winter storm pounds the region and dumps more than a foot of snow on some parts of the district.

Crews from the district’s highway maintenance facilities in Adams, Brown, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross and Scioto counties are working 12-hour shifts, and they have been patrolling, plowing and treating routes on the state highway system since the rain stopped and the snow began Wednesday morning.

Currently, priority and secondary routes are snow covered, and snow accumulation ranges from six to more than 12 inches, with heavier amounts along the Ohio River corridor. While precipitation should taper off by late morning, additional accumulation is expected, and this will be followed by falling temperatures during the afternoon and evening.

However, snow isn’t the only the battle facing some of the snowplow operators during this storm. High water and downed trees have presented additional challenges to snow-fighting operations, especially in Lawrence County where several routes have been closed or restricted due to flooding and debris.

Although conditions continue to change, several routes remain closed this morning due to high water, including State Route 141, near Arabia; State Route 217, between the intersecting points of State Route 378; State Route 218 at the Lawrence-Gallia County line; State Route 650, between County Road 43 (Kellys Mill Road) and County Road 27 (Little Pine Creek Road) and between Little Pine Creek Road and State Route 522; and State Route 775 near Township Road 223 (Mounts Branch Road).

ODOT’s crews will continue working throughout the storm; however, motorists can expect roadways to be snow covered and slick. Snowplow trucks travel at speeds well below the posted speed limit, and continuous, steady snow has been covering the roads more quickly than the drivers can travel the distance of their assigned routes to plow them.

Motorists are advised to avoid unnecessary travel, but those who must travel are advised to use extreme caution, be prepared and be patient. Drivers need to reduce their speed; allow additional travel and stopping time; and maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles. And for those routes that are closed, motorists will need to seek alternate routes; crossing any closed route is strictly prohibited. In addition, drivers need to exercise additional caution when traveling over any route that remains open but where standing water may be present.

For statewide road condition information, visit ODOT on the web at www.Ohgo.com