With the recent nice weather it’s hard to believe the Ohio Department of Transportation crews are “game ready” for the worst that this winter could possibly throw at them — and us.
Tuesday afternoon during a media conference at the Delaware County ODOT facility Jack Marchbanks, deputy director of District 6, said “We’re ready.”
During the conference Marchbanks stressed that the most important thing the public could do when snowplows are out clearing roads is that public stay back and give the trucks room to operate. “The public needs to give them space when they work,” he said.
Marchbanks wasn’t the only one to stress staying back from the trucks.
Mike Taylor, transport administrator, said, “My first two winters plowing I got hit twice.” He said nobody was hurt and he maintained control staying on the road, but the car hit the side of a tire, shredding it.
According to driver Tom Van Dyke, the best time to plow is at night when everyone is in bed because there isn’t any traffic to work around. “The hardest is in the afternoon when everyone is getting off of work at the same time,” he said.
District 6 is responsible for eight counties with 4,220 lane miles of road that is plowed by 165 plows, driven by 299 drivers who will drive more than 561,712 miles plowing snow. Last year the district laid down 44, 525 tons of road salt.
Nancy Burton, spokesperson, said that every year new roads are added, increasing the lane miles that need maintained. She said this year those additions in Delaware County were at the Tanger Outlet Mall at I-71 and U.S. 36 and the U.S. 750 widening near the Columbus Zoo.
This year the price of road salt is $48 per ton, which surprised Burton. “Usually it’s closer to $60 per ton.”
Currently there are approximately 9,000 tons of road salt sitting at the ready in the Delaware County storage barn on U.S. 42.
Taylor said that each of ODOT’s districts help each other out when needed.
“Not every county has a mega-barn like this,” he said. “We transferred some of our salt to District 7 over by the Indiana state border 3 years ago.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.