You can say many things about this most recent winter…some maybe not repeatable in polite company. But as far as the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is concerned, this winter is best described as “record smashing”. ideastream’s Brian Bull reports.
Polar vortexes, lengthy cold snaps, blasting windchills……essentially it’s been a winter wonderland turned arctic nightmare for many in Ohio, especially motorists.
ODOT spokesman Steve Faulkner says he’s been tracking his department’s efforts to keep highways and streets clear and safe since the first snow event in mid-October. Flash-forward to late March, and what do state road crews have to show for it?
“ODOT snowplows have driven more than 14 million miles of roadway in Ohio," begins Faulkner. "We’ve spent more than $100 million, that’s on labor, equipment, and materials. Y’know, an average winter in Ohio, we might use around 630,000 tons of salt to treat our roadways. This year, we have used more than 1 million tons of salt on Ohio’s roadways. To reach that million ton point is a record breaker for us.”
Compare that to two winters ago, when ODOT used just 370,000 tons of salt.
Faulkner says road crews have worked in all kinds of conditions, and there have been dozens of collisions with vehicles that tailed plows and salt trucks too closely. He says the crews are ready for spring.
Specific stats from ODOT:
So far this winter (October 1, 2013 to March 13, 2014)
1,007,982 tons of salt used
1,234,275 labor hours worked
• For all of last winter (October 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013)
731,757 tons of salt used
803,283 labor hours worked
• Just two winters ago (October 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012)
370,447 tons of salt used
466,751 labor hours worked
• 14,257,024 – miles that ODOT plow drivers have driven statewide this winter between road treatment and plowing as of March 17, 2014
o 9,241,072 – miles driven statewide for the 12-13 winter
o 5,460,782 – miles driven statewide for the 11-12 winter
• $62,000,000 – Average annual statewide cost of winter over the past 10-years
• 630,000 – Average annual statewide tons of salt used over the past 10-years