GALLIPOLIS — Last fall, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) held it’s annual “Winter Readiness” meeting for Gallia County, which will likely be put to good use in the coming days.
“Here at ODOT, we have winter on our minds far before most other people start to even think of winter weather conditions,” ODOT District 10 Public Information Officer Ashley Rittenhouse said. “We want to fully prepare our technicians and the public.”
During these annual meetings, ODOT uses this time as a “refresher” according to Rittenhouse.
“No matter how long an ODOT technician or driver has been working for us, we always want them to be repaired,” she added.
Throughout October and November, ODOT conducts its annual county Operational Readiness Inspections where crews conducted 150-point inspections to repair and fine tune snow removal equipment in preparation for winter.
In Gallia County ODOT crews use 14 snowplows with 17 drivers, and two mechanics to keep roads safe and more manageable during the winter months. Workers for ODOT drove 40,364 miles removing ice and snow last winter which is more than seven million miles, plowing and pre-treating roadways. This is the equivalent to 281 trips around the Earth.
“Because of last year’s mild winter, ODOT was able to save almost $16 per ton,” Rittenhouse said. “Last year’s total per ton for salt was $69.04, however, this year it is $53.07. That is good news not purely for ODOT, but also for Ohio taxpayers.”
During the “Winter Readiness” meetings, another point of concern was public safety and public awareness. Last winter, there were 35 vehicles which struck ODOT snow plows as a result of following too closely. ODOT crews want to remind motorists of the safety precautions while driving near an ODOT vehicle.
“Plow trucks move slowly on the road, they are wide and can sometimes move to the center of lanes,” Rittenhouse said. “Two ODOT phrases we like to use are, ‘Don’t crowd the plow’ and ‘Ice and snow, take it slow.’”
ODOT also has a new app that can be downloaded for free, the OHGO move app is available for smartphones which features personalized traffic alerts and hands-free voice on the go feature.
“A user can pinpoint a particular location for updated road condition updates,” Rittenhouse said.