Updated Thu, Nov 14, 2013 12:02 pm
The video above is from the Ohio Transportation YouTube channel. The story below is Tyler Buchanan's - for the Athens Messenger - from Oct. 30.
With calm October skies and a temperature in the sixties, Monday afternoon seemed a curious time for the Ohio Department of Transportation to rev up the snow plows.
But with 15 trucks in Athens County and 126 throughout the regional Ohio Department of Transportation district, the calm before the impending winter storms is the time to be prepared.
On Monday, workers at the ODOT garage in Athens began the annual fall inspection of all snow fighting equipment, including a complete "150-point" check of each snow plow. This means an up-close look at every working piece of the trucks — inside, outside and underneath.
"Being prepared is probably one of the most important things we do," said Steve Williams, ODOT's district deputy director, emphasizing the importance of snow and ice removal for area drivers. "No one moves unless we do."
Ready at the helm will be 22 drivers with 4,266 tons of salt ready for use this year.
The snow plows will also feature bright green light patterns to make them more visible to other drivers, said ODOT Public Information Officer David Rose. The nearly two-dozen drivers in Athens County have 534 miles of highways to salt as part of their prepared snow routes, according to ODOT.
"The drivers are amazing," Rose said. "This is our core service."
Among the workers inspecting each snow truck's controls is Davey Christman, a highway technician 2. The title's number means he has an added level of experience with the plows, which double as dump trucks during warmer months.
As Athens County nears the winter months, Williams said residents need not worry about Ohio budget issues when it comes to ODOT. Last season, the county invested more than $550,000 in snow and ice removal, and Williams said the funding should remain consistent this year.
"When it comes to snow and ice, we are not going to skimp on the budget," he said.