WILMINGTON — With rock salt prices up, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in Clinton County plans to spray more brine on wintry roads as the agency seeks to more efficiently use salt.
At a local winter storm planning meeting Tuesday, ODOT County Manager Mike Lovelace said, “We’ve got a big push on ODOT as far as the state to try to do things to limit our salt usage.”
The approach is expected to save quite a bit of money throughout the state, he said.
ODOT in Clinton County is making its own brine at its outpost facility, said Lovelace.
Brine is sprayed onto roadways as a liquid, and therefore does not bounce off roads like rock salt.
The ODOT operations in the county are responsible for clearing state routes and Interstate 71.
ODOT has a statewide website that provides useful wintertime driving information, according to Lovelace and Clinton County Engineer Jeff Linkous. That website is www.buckeyetraffic.org .
Wilmington Maintenance and Repair Department Superintendent Jerry Runk also attended the meeting. He said priorities for snow plowing and salting of city streets include doing hills, bridges and intersections.
Priorities also include heavily travelled areas and the fire station so that life squad vehicles and fire trucks can get in and out, he said.
For a normal snowfall, Runk said the city does not pre-treat intersections. However, if weather forecasters are predicting an ice storm, then city work crews will pre-treat, he said.
Sometimes there’s a lack of clarity on whether a person is legally allowed to drive to work when a Level 3 snow emergency has been declared by the sheriff’s office. Among other things, Level 3 states all roads are closed to non-emergency personnel.
Major Brett Prickett with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office said there are some particular private companies — he mentioned Alkermes and the air park as examples — that may have essential personnel.
When a private company has essential personnel, it is helpful for law enforcement to know that, said officials at the meeting. An illustration of that would be a work badge identifying a person as essential personnel.
The wording of the three separate levels concerning hazardous winter road conditions has not changed. See the box accompanying this article for the exact wording of those levels.
It was brought out at the meeting that township trustees have the authority to bump up the level for their respective township if need be.
When a roadway warning level is issued by the sheriff’s office, it is announced on the sheriff’s office website and news media also are contacted.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.