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Update: Highway Workers Take To The Roads Once Again To Clear Snow and Ice

By: Todd Baucher, Abbie Schrader Email
By: Todd Baucher, Abbie Schrader Email
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Update: 3/04/2014 10:30 A.M.

While the roads were still dry, O.D.O.T. trucks were out putting brine on the roads to ensure no black ice Sunday night once freezing rain and sleet started to fall.

Twenty trucks are on the roads across District 10. Each truck carrying ten tons of material for each round of road treatment.

A lot of the drivers say that it's been a long winter.

"As we all know it's been a very tough winter, very harsh. To help put that in perspective, during a typical winter O.D.O.T District 10 uses about 25,000 tons of salt. This year we've more than doubled that to more than 52,000 tons of salt already this year. And obviously we're here in the middle of a storm", says P.I.O David Rose of O.D.O.T

Rose says crews are out in full force Sunday night and will be working twelve hour shifts, rotating on and off until the storm passes and roads are clear.
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Update: 3/02/2014 9:00 P.M.

What started out as rain, then turned to freezing rain, progressively became snow as the afternoon turned to evening.

Robert Busch saw it all happen as he drove a snowplow for the West Virginia Division of Highways. He had plowed the area at and near the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport at mid-afternoon Sunday, when the immediate Parkersburg area was still mainly wet. By late afternoon, the airport area was covered again.

"It wasn't too bad until 2 (P.M.). Then, it started icing up," Busch told us.
--Where has it been worst?

"Up north, up towards Williamstown."

But just before 5 p.m., that began to change again. Highways that were just wet, by late afternoon were covered with snow. And what had been up until then the treating of roads, turned to plowing.
but the change in conditions wasn't enough to slow down drivers.

"We've had them pass us, Busch notes. These people get in a big hurry. We're out here trying to do a job, but these things don't stop on a heartbeat."

Something I saw on vehicles during the day Sunday is windshield wipers turned up. It's an apparent effort by drivers to avoid having the wipers stick to the windshield when the temperatures fall.

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They had hoped it wouldn't happen again. But the two weeks there hasn't been any major snowfall have been an oppportunity for state highway departments to prepare for another one. And that includes stockpiling more road salt.

"We're making sure all the trucks are fueled up and ready to go," says
Curtis Richards, District 3 Highway Administrator, West Virginia Division of Highways. "All the guys know they're coming in. We're going to start Saturday evening for the midnight shift."

The Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 has enough salt on hand to distribute it to local highway departments for treatment of the roads they're responsible for. But it isn't salt ODOT will be using if, as feared, the storm begins with ice.

"We'll take our salt as well as calcium chloride," says Spokesman David Rose. "Calcium chloride is another de-icer we have, but it has a much lower freezing point."

It's been two months of one winter storm after another. Richards is hopeful this coming storm is the last.

"I've been watching the long-range forecast and hope it's right."

And ODOT again reminds drivers to keep a safe distance from plows as their drivers are trying to clear the roads.


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