Ohio Department Of Transportation Prepares For Winter

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The Ohio Department of Transportation is already preparing for the winter season through its “Winter Readiness” program.

The first stop in southeast Ohio was at the Vinton City garage Monday afternoon. Dozens of snow plow drivers and mechanics from Athens, Vinton and Washington counties gathered to review snow and ice removal procedures and to develop a “game plan” incase of a harsh winter like the last.

“We can’t predict the weather or what’s going to happen, but we can be ready and that’s what this is all about,” said David Rose, ODOT’s Public Information Officer. “No matter what Mother Nature throws at us, we're going to be ready."

To prepare for the possibility of another extreme winter season, officials are traveling around the region to perform inspections on the more than 120 snowplows in southeast Ohio.

Last winter southeast Ohio experienced record-breaking temperatures causing severe snow and ice fall around the region.

Rose said that’s not the only records that were broken.

"We used a million tons of salt and we invested $119 million to remove snow and ice around the state," he said.

According to the Athens County Engineers office, Athens County used 13,630 tons of salt and grit to clear its snow and ice covered roads between November of 2013 to February 2014 totaling $235,243.53. The office is still unsure of how much the county will spend on salt and grit for the upcoming winter.

"Having a little bit of low salt supply at times obviously was an issue, but besides that we have a contract each spring so that we can have the salt stocked prior to winter,” Rose said.

Rose said that residents should also practice safe driving during the winter months to help snow plow drivers do their job.

"Ultimately that's what it's all about – clearing the snow and ice, keeping the road safe for motorists. We tell motorists 'In ice and snow, take it slow.'"

Officials will continue traveling to other southeastern Ohio counties throughout the week.