Operational Readiness Events keep Ohio’s economic engine running
ODOT begins ‘Working for Winter’
before first Snowflake falls
COLUMBUS (Monday, September 27, 2010) - Although the calendar still reads September, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is already “Working for Winter” by inspecting every snowplow and salt spreader in its fleet to make sure they are road ready when the first snowflake falls.
The reason: a report showing that if Ohio’s transportation system shut down for even just one day because of snow and ice, Ohio workers could lose out on as much as $200 million in wages and paychecks.
“ODOT is ‘working for winter’ to ensure that Ohio’s economic engine never stops running, even when snow and ice blanket our state,” said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris. “Whenever the first snow falls, ODOT’s crews will be ready - to make sure Ohioans can safely get to work, goods can get to market on-time, and vital services are accessible all across the state.”
Over the next several weeks, ODOT garages across the state will be inspecting, checking, and fine-tuning snow removal equipment, as part of county-by-county Operational Readiness Events.
This season, ODOT will have more than 1,700 plow trucks and more than 3,000 trained drivers ready to clear ice and snow from the state’s roadways and bridges. ODOT maintains nearly 40,000 lane miles of state highway, which carries approximately two thirds of the state’s daily traffic.
According to a report by the American Highway Users Alliance, if Ohio’s transportation system were to shut down for one day due to a winter storm, the total economic impact would cause the state to lose more than $300 million in direct and indirect productivity.
The report says snow-related shutdowns affect hourly workers the most. In all, Ohio workers could lose more than $205 million in direct and indirect wages, according to the research. Ohio would also lose vital tax revenue - as much as $11.4 million in state and local taxes, and $15 million in federal taxes - in just one day.
Last winter, ODOT used 665,244 tons of salt and invested $78 million to keep highways and bridges safe and passable throughout the season.
Beyond the plows, ODOT will once again remind drivers that in “Ice and Snow… Take it Slow.”
To keep drivers safe this winter, ODOT wants drivers to “KNO B4 U GO” with a safe driving “tweet” from Twitter. ODOT will offer instant information on winter conditions along interstates and highways in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. More than 8,000 followers are signed up for the service so far.
ODOT’s Twitter efforts build upon the success of the department’s premier traffic website www.BuckeyeTraffic.org. With user-friendly, map-based features, ODOT’s website had more than 131 million hits last winter. BuckeyeTraffic.org provides up-to-date traffic information and 24-hour road conditions across the state.
For more information contact:
Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640
or Your Local ODOT Communications Office
Media should contact local district for a listing of Operational Readiness Events in your area