The Ohio Department of Transportation hopes to have its fleet of snow plows, salt trucks and other pieces of snow removal gear in place to help keep Ohio roads safe.
The annual winter readiness process began earlier this month And continues into November as ODOT workers conduct 150-point inspections to repair and fine tune snow removal equipment, according to Justin Chesnic, public information officer for ODOT District 4. District 4 is made up of Summit, Portage, Ashtabula, Mahoning, Stark and Trumbull counties.
The inspections are part of the department's annual county-by-county operational readiness inspections.
"Each spring, the state's ice and snow equipment is repaired and replaced before being put in storage," according to ODOT Director Jerry Wray. "Fine tuning in the fall ensures every plow, truck and spreader is road ready before the first snows fall."
Even though last winter was considered mild by Ohio's standards, ODOT's snow plow trucks drove more than 7 million miles plowing and pretreating roadways, which is the equivalent to 281 trips around the Earth, according to Chesnic.
According to ODOT, 26 snowplows covered 528 Summit County lane miles during last year's winter, putting down 10,016 tons of salt and 413,200 gallons of liquid deicer.
There are more than 1,800 snow plow trucks and 3,000 operators that will clear snow and ice from 43,000 miles of state, U.S. and Interstate routes throughout the state this year.
A new tool this year is ODOT's free mobile app, "OHGO", which features winter road conditions and personalized traffic alert. The app is available on the App Store and Google Play.
While plow drivers are doing their jobs, ODOT asks that driver's pay attention and do not follow the trucks too closely. Last winter, 35 vehicles struck ODOT snow plow trucks due to following too closely.
ODOT is again reminding motorists to remember the winter driving slogan "Ice and snow, take it slow."
ODOT warns drivers to be aware of "snow clouds" which can blind drivers, formed from the snow and ice being plowed from the roadways, according to Chesnic.