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ODOT readies Equipment to Maintain Safety during Ice and Snow Season

New “Smart Salt Strategy” introduced; Motorists reminded: Ice and Snow… Take It Slow

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COLUMBUS (October 14, 2008) - As the Ohio Department of Transportation gears up for the 2008-2009 winter season by readying its snow-clearing equipment, ODOT crews are fine tuning a “Smart Salt Strategy” for keeping roadways safe by using the right amounts of salt and manpower at the right times and locations.

And ODOT is reminding motorists that in Ice and Snow…Take it Slow.

Throughout October and November, ODOT’s maintenance forces will hold a series of Operational Readiness Events in each of the state’s 88 counties, to ensure every plow, truck, and spreader is road ready.

Across the state, ODOT will have more than 1,700 plow trucks and 3,000 drivers ready to clear ice and snow when the first storms arrive. ODOT maintains nearly 39,000 lane miles of highway, which carries approximately two-thirds of the state’s average daily traffic.

“When winter weather blankets the state, Ohio’s residents and businesses depend on our integrated transportation network to connect goods to markets, workers with jobs, people to health care and education, and families with loved ones and home,” said ODOT Director James Beasley. “With this year’s increased cost of salt, the department has devised a Smart Salt Strategy to ensure that crews are as efficient as possible with the salt on hand.”

Like most Midwest states, Ohio has seen a dramatic increase in the price of rock salt. On average, salt will cost about $62 per ton, compared to last year’s price of $42 a ton. ODOT uses an average of 700,000 tons of salt each winter.

Some of ODOT’s Smart Salt Strategy includes the use of calibrated salt spreaders, found on every ODOT snow plow, to allow crews to adjust the application of ice-melting materials; infrared temperature sensors which allow crews to see the exact surface temperature of the roadways, so salt is applied only where needed; and mixing of sand or grit materials with the salt, to provide better traction in snow on less travelled roadways.

Throughout severe winter events, crews constantly monitor pavement conditions. It’s hoped this Smart Salt Strategy will help ODOT to be 30 percent more efficient with salt use and ensure continued safety.

Beyond the plows and salt this winter season, ODOT will encourage drivers to be prepared. The first snow storm usually seems to be the worst because many motorists forget the winter driving skills they developed last year. Being a careful and informed driver is the best way motorists can travel safely. ODOT’s best advice: in Ice and Snow… Take it Slow.

Up-to-the-minute road conditions are always available by logging onto BuckeyeTraffic.org. Last winter, ODOT’s premiere website received more than 117 million hits during the winter driving season.


For more information contact: Scott Varner, ODOT Communications, at (614) 644-8640
or your local ODOT District Communications Office.