COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Transportation is preparing for a major winter storm that is taking aim on Ohio for the second half of this week.
“We are encouraging Ohioans to avoid any unnecessary trips during the storm to help give all of our road crews room to work,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “For those who must travel, please be safe and take it slow, giving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.”
In northern Ohio, crews are preparing for significant amounts of snow. Some forecasts are calling for over a foot of snow with blowing and drifting conditions due to high winds.
In central Ohio, crews expect freezing rain to be the biggest threat. Freezing rain is the most challenging of winter precipitation that ODOT deals with because crews cannot pre-treat roads ahead of the storm, and once the roads are treated, rain continuously washes the material away.
The forecast for the southern portion of Ohio shows serious potential for heavy rain that could lead to flooding issues before it changes over to freezing rain or snow. Please remember to never drive through high water or around barricades.
“During winter storms, ODOT strives to keep roads passable to help ensure that emergency services and essential workers can safely reach their destinations,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “But even with our crews out in full force, roads will likely be snow and ice-covered, and it will take much longer to travel. Once the storm moves out, our crews will be able to make progress toward getting traffic moving at regular speed.”
ODOT’s goal is to have the average traffic speed on primary routes back to within 10 mph of the posted speed limit within 2 hours and secondary routes within 4 hours of the end of a storm. ODOT forces hit that goal 95% of the time last winter.
As a reminder, ODOT is responsible for plowing and treating more than 43,000 lane miles of state and U.S. routes outside of municipalities and all interstates except the Ohio Turnpike.
Drivers can find updated travel information, nearly 1,000 live traffic cameras, weather sensors, and more online at OHGO.com.
If you must drive during the storm, remember to follow winter driving safety tips like slowing down and allowing extra time for travel.