The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Jun. 4, 2020

Winter not bad so far for ODOT, county

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Although this winter hasn’t been nearly as hard as last winter in Van Wert County, county residents should brace for what could be the biggest storm yet of the season now headed this way.

A Van Wert city snowplow removes snow in the downtown area on Wednesday after 3 inches of the white stuff fell on the county. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)
A Van Wert city snowplow removes snow in the downtown area during a snowstorm last year. (VW independent file photo)

Both District 1 of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and County Engineer Kyle Wendel say this winter has been far better, when it comes to expenditures of manpower and materials to keep Van Wert County roads clear.

ODOT District 1 reports that the cost of keeping county roads free of snow and ice has been less than half that of the winter 2013-14 — the most costly winter on record for ODOT.

Expenditures for the entire ODOT District 1 area, which includes Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam and Wyandot counties, in addition to Van Wert, was $3.3 million. That includes a total of 22,027 tons of salt and 134,819 gallons of salt brine used so far.

In Van Wert County, 2,473 tons of salt and 13,891 gallons of salt brine have been used so far this year, at a total cost of $357,433.

Compared to last year, none of those totals are significant. By the same time last year, ODOT had used 43,244 tons of salt and had spent $5.6 million on snow/ice removal.

In fact, this winter is shaping up to more of an average winter, with the average cost of snow/ice removal over the past 10 years totaling $4.1 million.

District 1 currently has 25,894 tons of salt available for its eight-county district.

Wendel agrees that this year has been far better than last year, noting that his department, with fewer road miles to handle, compared to ODOT, has used approximately 300 tons of salt so far this winter.

How does that compare to last winter?

“We used at least double that amount last year,” the county engineer said, adding that his department also tends to use more salt/grit mixes and also mix salt with stone to clear county roads.

Of course, the winter is not over yet, with Wendel saying February tends to get the most snow of any month.

County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy and the National Weather Service are both predicting that the county could get a major snowstorm, starting late today, if the current storm track holds firm.

McCoy noted that the NWS currently has northwest Ohio and northeast Indiana under a Winter Storm Watch for heavy snow that is project to begin late tonight and continue through Sunday, with blowing and drifting snow throughout the day.

The Weather Service is calling for 8-12 inches of the white stuff, although McCoy added depends on the track of the storm.

“The forecast is subject to change, as any shift in the track of the storm will change amounts,” he noted in his Facebook blog.

Today’s forecast includes a high of 33, with a low tonight of 24, with snow flurries starting later tonight. Snow should intensify on Sunday, with a high of 27 degrees forecast and winds of 20- to 25 mph through the day, with gusts over 25 mph on Sunday evening. A low of 6 degrees is predicted for Sunday evening, with wind chills taking that to 15 below zero.

Monday should see a high of 12, with wind chills in the minus numbers on Monday night, while Tuesday beginning a gradual warm-up with a high of 26. Wednesday could see a chance of more snow, though, as could Thursday.

POSTED: 01/31/15 at 9:04 am. FILED UNDER: News