“We're faced with the same problem any agency, department or member of the public is facing,” Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 Public Information Officer Kathleen Fuller said. “We are affected as anyone across the state or country are.”
Fuller said ODOT has not canceled any road projects because of the high prices needed to fuel trucks and equipment.
But the rising fuel costs have to be considered when planning routine maintenance work on state roads.
“It ultimately affects the operations and the work that we do,” Fuller said.
She said when ODOT hires a contractor to build or repair a new road or structure, fuel costs are built into the final cost estimate.
Locally, ODOT is responsible for maintaining U.S. 52 and U.S. 23. It clears roads of snow and ice in the winter, and paves and upkeeps landscaping in the spring and summer.
Fuller said any decision to allocate more fuel money for ODOT would come from the Columbus administration offices. She didn't know if there are any plans to do so.
“We're trying to do the most prudent and judicial things we can,” Fuller said. “Some people are carpooling, and we are trying to use state vehicles as little as we can. Those may seem like small things, but they do add up.”
For example, several ODOT employees from Chillicothe recently shared a van to a meeting in Columbus.
Also, only those ODOT employees who could be called out for an emergency are allowed to take their vehicles home.
While Fuller said she has worked at home on occasion, that is not something she could do all the time. She said working from home is not a viable option for most ODOT employees in order to save on fuel costs.
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.