For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

 Ohio Department of Transportation  Internet News Release
December 1, 2003

Technology Aids ODOT, Motorists During Winter

(COLUMBUS) With the onset of winter the Ohio Department of Transportations (ODOT) expanded use of technology will help improve safety and control costs associated with snow and ice removal.

The department spent $3.6 million this year expanding its Web-based Roadway Weather Information System (RWIS) by adding 86 weather stations to the 72 already in place. The system, available to the public at www.buckeyetraffic.org, provides real-time weather information from 158 weather stations covering all 88 Ohio counties. Each station monitors air temperature, humidity, dew point, wind speed and direction and precipitation. ODOT garages use the information to detect freezing conditions and storms, while motorists can use it to check road conditions before leaving home or work.

This winter ODOT will test a friction-sensing wheel on a prototype dump truck to measure skid resistance on roads and bridges. The system, originally designed to measure tire grip in the racing industry, was tested by ODOT at NASAs Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia over the summer. The tests provided friction readings on various road conditions, including ice. The meter provides operators with a graphical display of road friction so operators can adjust the level of salt they are spreading to match the conditions.

Following two years of successful testing, ODOT will expand its use of salt brine to pre-treat Ohios four-lane highways in advance of winter storms by adding sprayers in central and southern Ohio. Brine, as well as other anti-icing chemicals, are intended to stop ice from forming and are more economical than rock salt. "Brine and anti-icing chemicals are more efficient than rock salt because they are precisely applied whereas rock salt is prone to bouncing off the road," said ODOT Director Gordon Proctor. "The chemicals give us a time advantage and save the state money."

To further aid in snow and ice control, ODOT purchased multi-use trucks for Ohios eastern and western counties. These trucks allow crews to plow snow, pre-treat road surfaces with brine, apply salt to existing accumulation, and spray salt with brine or calcium at the spinner. The versatility of the trucks give operators the option of picking the application best suited for road conditions with the flip of a switch. The greater Cleveland area will battle snow and ice with seven new multi-use trucks which can operate as salt trucks in the winter, plus do the work of several summer vehicles.

Each winter, ODOT receives weekly feedback on its snow and ice performance through its Snow Spotters Program. Professional drivers, such as emergency service personnel, truck drivers, and delivery workers, voluntarily measure ODOTs performance. ODOT uses the feedback to continuously improve its snow and ice removal process.