IRONTON, OHIO (WOWK) — Agencies in the Tri-State are already gearing up for the cold season around the corner. Scenes of snowplows and salt trucks hitting the pavement will return soon.
“Last winter, our crews drove a total of over 9.1 million miles, which is the same as 368 trips around the Earth,” says Matt McGuire, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 9.
ODOT crews were busy last winter:
“In our district, the eight counties we serve, our crews worked over 50,000 hours last winter, responding to snow and ice events. They drove a total of 457,000 miles, and put down over 39,000 tons of salt on our roadways,” McGuire says.
Now, these crews are prepping for this year’s winter season.
“We’ve already completed our summer fill-up; we have a salt delivery where we fill up our barn so that we have plenty of material on hand. We’re mixing our brine, making sure we have plenty of liquid de-icer to respond. We’re also inspecting our trucks and equipment. Our mechanics are going over and inventorying any mechanical issues that need to be resolved, any parts they need to order,” McGuire says.
Mechanics at the garage say they conduct all of these checks early so that when the bad weather does come, the trucks are ready to get out on the road.
“First of November, we could have snow before inspection even comes. So we try to get it up and running as quick as possible. There’s a checklist of 150 different items that we gotta go over and just make sure the truck is in great running condition,” says Phillip Robinson, auto technician with Lawrence County ODOT.
Making sure the vehicles are in top operating condition is one thing; ODOT is also looking to bulk up its seasonal workforce.
“Statewide every year we hire over 500 seasonal drivers to assist our crews with snow and ice removal… Right now we still do have vacancies for CDL drivers, minimum of a Class B with a tanker endorsement,” McGuire says.
ODOT hopes to have enough drivers so that when bad weather strikes it will help them keep your family safe.
“We hire seasonal drivers every year and that’s in order to provide the coverage if we have a long term snow event—we need to migrate into a 12-hour rotating shift—we need enough drivers to fill the seats to make sure that we’ve got all those 12 trucks on the roadway,” McGuire says.
While ODOT prepares their fleet of trucks for the winter, they want to remind drivers to give those plows a lot of room. Last year, ODOT reports 46 collisions with plows while working to clear the roadways.
For more information about ODOT and becoming a seasonal driver, visit their webpage here.