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Are you ready for winter driving? Here's how ODOT drivers prepare

A snow plow clears a road with snow covered tree in the background.
User: AlbertHerring
Wikimedia/Creative Commons
The Ohio Department of Transportation will clear 4,000 lane miles this winter.

Ohio Department of Transportation drivers will clear more than 4,000 lane miles in the Miami Valley area this winter.

That's why mechanics at the District 7 office in Troy recently inspected 150 ODOT trucks to make sure they’re road ready.

Armed with flashlights and a laptop, teams of two shook hoses, checked battery connections, plunged into and under the engine, examined plow blades — and of course kicked the tires.

District 7 is well stocked with a salt-brine mix. Drivers spread it on the roads to reduce ice and snow build up.

“We have about 585,000 gallons right now on hand, so we’re ready for what Mother Nature gives us as we tackle the overpasses and the bridges,” spokesperson Tiffany Oliphant said. “This means you can get home safe, and we can get home safe.”

However, inflation has forced most Ohio counties to spend more for salt. Last winter, the 11 counties in the Miami Valley area paid between $63 and $76 for a ton of salt.

This winter, they paid between $70 and $79 a ton.

That's prompted District 7 transportation administrators to build a larger salt barn.

“We want to be able to house enough salt for one complete winter season, to be able to purchase during the summer contract at cheaper prices,” Transportation Administrator Josh Smith said.

He estimated the new salt barn will be completed next spring.

Drivers also are urged to give snow plows plenty of room on the road.

“Please slow down and move over. If you can’t move over, stay as far back as possible. We’re not going to stop until the job gets done,” Oliphant said.

Kathryn Mobley is an award-winning broadcast journalist, crafting stories for more than 30 years. She’s reported and produced for TV, NPR affiliate and for the web. Mobley also contributes to several area community groups. She sings tenor with World House Choir (Yellow Springs), she’s a board member of the Beavercreek Community Theatre and volunteers with two community television operations, DATV (Dayton) and MVCC (Centerville).

Cell phone: (937) 952-9924