Groundhog Day Prediction of Early Spring
ODOT Ready for More Winter Weather
COLUMBUS(Tuesday, February 2, 2010) – Despite the Groundhog Day prediction by Buckeye Chuck that spring is on its way, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) stands ready for whatever winter weather may still come this season.
Across the state, ODOT crews have used approximately 348,000 tons of salt to keep the state’s highways and bridges safe and passable this winter - and have more than 462,000 tons of salt stockpiled, if needed. On average, ODOT uses about 700,000 tons of salt annually.
Combining labor and material costs, ODOT has invested roughly $40.3 million in combating ice and snow so far this season.
Buckeye Chuck - Ohio’s equivalent to Punxsutawney Phil - did not see his shadow in the city of Marion today which, according to legend, means it will be a shorter winter. Punxsutawney Phil, however, did see his shadow.
Drivers who need a more accurate forecast of potential winter conditions are turning to ODOT’s online tools. BuckeyeTraffic.org - the state’s premier map-based website for road conditions, delays, and live traffic cameras - has seen more than 34 million hits this season.
In addition, ODOT has nearly 4,700 “followers” of its free Twitter updates in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo, allowing drivers to check on their routes before they get behind the wheel.
Since mid-December, ODOT has been using Twitter to send out traffic tweets - short, bite-sized updates - when icy or snowy conditions impact travel on interstates and major highways or when a winter-related accident causes major traffic delays.
Drivers can subscribe to ODOT’s tweets by logging on to www.BuckeyeTraffic.org/twitter.
If Buckeye Chuck is right about the arrival of warmer weather, his forecast could mean an early start on ODOT's historic construction season.
This year, ODOT will deliver the largest construction program in Ohio history - 30 percent larger than at any other time. Combining federal stimulus funding and ODOT’s dedicated federal and state gas tax dollars, the department is investing more than $4 billion into capital and construction projects over the next two state fiscal years.
For more information contact:
Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640
or Your Local ODOT Communications Office