ENGLEWOOD — The Ohio Department of Transportation District 7 began inspecting all of its snow and ice equipment this week to make sure crews are ready for the first storm.
Over the next few weeks ODOT will be testing and repairing snow plow trucks, salt spreaders and any other equipment used to battle slick roadways.
Tuesday morning at the Montgomery County ODOT Garage at 300 Smith Dr., Englewood, ODOT personnel began conducting ‘Operational Readiness Inspections’ of all its equipment. The equipment at this location includes 23 dump trucks, three semis, two backhoes and three wheel loaders.
According to Bob Lenser, transportation administrator at the Smith Drive ODOT Garage, the salt bins were full at this location at the end of last winter.
“We have a winter fill contract and a summer fill contract and we elected not to engage in our summer fill contract this summer because we were full as of the end of last winter,” Lenser said.
Countywide ODOT has 5,700 tons of salt stored and ready to use if needed. The last two winters have been very mild with very little salt used. When asked if he had heard any long range projections for this winter, Lenser was hesitant to rely on that information given the unpredictability of Mother Nature.
“Everybody in this business looks at the Farmers’ Almanac and different online resources, so we have looked, yes,” Lenser noted. “We are prepared no matter what the forecast says. At this point in time when it’s that far out it is less reliable than a few days out, but we prepare for the worst case scenario each year. We are ready to go and that is the reason why we our doing our annual maintenance inspection on our snow and ice equipment to make sure everything is ready to go. If it snows above average snowfall and below average temperatures this year we are going to be ready. If we have a mild winter like the last two years, we will be ready for that as well.”
This year ODOT will be utilizing semi tankers to flood the highways with liquid salt brine to battle initial snowfalls.
“Each year we are getting into the liquid just a little bit more and we have learned a lot over the last few years,” Lenser said. “Liquid has become a very effective resource for us and it is a very effective tool to get an immediate impact on melting snow and ice. It helps us stay ahead of the storm.”
When motorists see stripes on the highway pavement, that means ODOT is being proactive by putting salt brine down in advance of impending winter weather. The semi tankers will then flood the roadways during storms.
“It is a new concept for us here that we have learned a lot about in the last two or three years,” Lenser added. “What we will do is go out and apply liquids during a snow and ice event directly to the roadway and it has an immediate impact and really helps us stay ahead of the storm.”
The dump trucks will follow to plow the roadways and spread salt. Depending on the weather conditions, including temperature and hourly snowfall amounts the semi tankers will be loaded with the proper mixture of agricultural deicer and salt brine. The mixture will be adjusted accordingly as weather conditions can vary from day to night.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind