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Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

ODOT inspects snowplows at VW garage

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Like falling leaves and colder temperatures, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s snowplow inspection is another sign that winter isn’t far away.

Last winter was a record-breaking one for ODOT, with more road salt used (more than 1 million tons), more money spent on snow/ice removal ($119 million) and more snowplow miles driven (more than 14 million) than any other winter so far.

A new tandem-axle snowplow, with left-wing plow was on display at the Van Wert ODOT garage on Thursday. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)
A new tandem-axle snowplow, with left-wing plow was on display at the Van Wert ODOT garage on Thursday. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

This winter, ODOT is ready. Earlier this month, ODOT crews around the state, including the Van Wert County ODOT garage, began conducting random 150-point inspections to fine-tune snow removal equipment in anticipation that winter won’t be far away. The inspections are part of ODOT’s annual county-by-county Equipment Readiness Inspections.

“We work day and night to keep Ohio’s roads open and passable so businesses, schools and healthcare providers can operate uninterrupted,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “The most effective way to accomplish this is to have equipment in good working order, salt in the barns and operators and mechanics who are well trained.”

The Lima-based ODOT District 1, which includes Van Wert, as well as Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, and Wyandot counties, began random inspections on its 127 snow removal trucks on Thursday.

New this year, ODOT has completed installation of green, white and amber lights on all 1,700 snowplow trucks in its fleet. The color combination provides higher visibility than the traditional amber lights.

Of course, snowplows don’t drive themselves. ODOT has more than 3,000 highly trained and certified operators ready to clear ice and snow from the state’s roadways and bridges.

ODOT also has plenty of salt on hand, a total of 36,407 tons in District 1 alone, including 3,565 tons here in Van Wert County. That may not be enough to last the winter, though, since the district used 62,126.74 tons of salt last winter, as well as 425,000 tons of brine.

At the local ODOT garage, operators showed off some new equipment, including a tandem-axle snowplow truck with a left-side plow added to its front and belly plows that will allow quicker snow removal on turnarounds and in the passing lane on four-lane highways.

ODOT employee Mike Lichtle, who drives the truck on U.S. 30, said the new vehicle will keep him safer, since he will no longer have to drive the wrong way on U.S. 30 to clear the passenger lane, and will also halve the time it takes him to remove snow and ice from the roadway.

The truck bed also has an improved truck bed that will speed up, and improve, salt dispersal onto the roadway.

ODOT inspectors were at the garage on Thursday morning to inspect about half of its fleet of snowplows and brine transportation equipment.

Also, starting November 3, motorists can find out the latest road conditions from ODOT’s website:

POSTED: 10/31/14 at 7:22 am. FILED UNDER: News