By Portia Williams
ASHLAND, Ky. — Officials and road crew workers Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia gathered at the Ashland, Ky. riverfront for the 2015 ‘Winter-Readiness’ Rally. Snow plows that were lined up reiterated the message from all three districts concerning winter weather, “We are ready,”
Allen Blair, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 9, said their district is ready, and safety is the priority this winter.
“We have about 75 snow plows, and 24,000 tons of salt, about 140 operator and drivers that work our roads and equipment each year winter to keep about 2,000 miles of highway clear,” Blair said. That is our job, and I think that I speak for all the states and the cities and the counties in saying our number one priority from now until spring is safety for those who travel the highways, and for all of those who work on the highways. It is our job to make sure that in a snow storm, we keep the roads as clear as possible. “
Kathleen Fuller, of Ohio Department of Transportation District 9, said ODOT District 9 is ready, and encourages the public to be safe during winter travel.
“I represent the other side of the river in our efforts here. We want to remind people of the need for safety throughout the entire winter weather season, and particularly this time of year when we have a lot of travelers out with the holiday shopping,” Fuller said. “As far as ODOT’s efforts are concerned, we are going to be out there, ready to go. Every year in the fall we hold dry run inspections,or operational readiness events throughout our districts. In ODOT District 9 we have upwards of 125 pieces of equipment. We have roughly, 33,000 tons of salt in store and ready to go this year, and last year we used about 40,000 tons of salt, and that is a little above our average. “We want people to please remember to be careful, and take your time, slow down, and know that forecast before you get out there.”
Carrie Bly, of the West Virginia Department of Transportation, said winter driving is a partnership between transportation departments and motorists.
“It is great to be around people that are dealing with the same issues that we are, and have the same goal, which is the safety of the traveling public,” Bly said. “I think that all of us are going into this with a good mindset. We are fully stocked, and we’re not having that salt scare that we had last year, which a lot of us were dealing with. So, we are ready. Statewide we have about 188,000 tons of salt, and here in the Huntington area of Cabell County, and surrounding counties, we have about 15,000 tons of salt. Something that has been touched on today, is that we are ready to go. Obviously, we’re here. We’ve got the trucks, and it is very important for the public to be ready as well, and try to think of winter driving as a partnership. We are doing our part. We’re going to be out there clearing the roads, working around the clock, and before you go out hitting those winter conditions, you need to be ready as well.”
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.
Officials and road crew workers from Transportation Departments from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia gathered at the Ashland, Ky. riverfront for the ‘Winter-Readiness’ Rally on Thursday