Winter, here it comes!

By Frank Lewis

November 17, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Don’t let the sunshine and the brief temperature increase lull you to sleep, Scioto County Emergency Management Agency Director Kim Carver and Kathleen Fuller, Public Information Officer for District 9 of the Ohio Department of Transportation are reminding area residents that now is the time to prepare for extreme winter weather.

Carver said it is time to prepare for the harsh weather that winter can bring by putting together a family supply kit that can sustain a family for a few days should severe winter weather occur.

Fuller said ODOT is already gearing up.

“We use the same trucks year round for various operations,” Fuller said. “Late summer, early fall, our mechanics are doing the 150 point inspections, inspecting and giving a little more due diligence in making sure that everything is ready to go before we get our first break of winter weather.”

Fuller said inspections are part of the overall county-by-county “readiness” events that are held each year, and as part of the overall maintenance program for the District’s plow trucks, loaders and other equipment used in the day-to-day operations.

“As was done last year, we are continuing to add green and white lights to the existing amber lights on our trucks,” Fuller said. “The department has completed the upgrade on 70 percent of its fleet, and it is planned that all trucks will have the green, white and amber color combinations by the end of this year. The color combination has proven more visible than amber lights alone, and better visibility will lead to safer roadways as the motoring public can quickly and easily identify these vehicles in adverse weather conditions.”

Fuller said a part of that preparation is to make sure the materials are ready to go, which means ODOT’s salt barns are loaded up.

“We obviously have a contract we use to purchase salt,” Fuller said. “So we kind of fill up on salt as we go throughout the year, based on the contract that we have to purchase salt. So, by the middle of October, our salt barns are stocked full.”

Fuller said District 9 is equipped with 123 trucks and 172 drivers. Thirteen salt barns hold 32,350 tons of salt now in storage. She said the district used 25,371 tons of salt at a price of $3.3 million last year.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.