|Snow takes toll... on motorists, patience and community budgets|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Wednesday, 05 February 2014 12:01|
"Definitely have blowing and drifting snow," said Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn this morning, "but so far all of the main roads are passable. I've been driving the roads since about 5 this morning. We're watching the wind very closely to see if it's increased. But I think if it doesn't increase, we should be able to maintain a Level 2."
Wood County Highway Garage Superintendent Gary Britten said one of their plows turned onto its side around 3 a.m. this morning on Custar Road due to the conditions. CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
"One of the night guys (was) trying to plow" and due to the wind "got a little tough to see, got over a little too far" and was sucked in by the snow.
The truck ended up completely off the road, but was able to be towed out and started, and was taken back to the garage to be checked out.
"He's fine," Britten said of the driver. "I think his pride was a little hurt."
Britten said that conditions were improving as daylight came, but were especially bad around 4:30 or 5 a.m., when visibility was cut drastically. He said he told drivers to simply park their trucks for a while and wait.
Britten said there was considerable drifting, and some drifts were quite solid.
"These people, especially in these little cars, need to be really careful, because they can do some damage. Some of them are a couple foot deep."
The Sheriff's Office and Bowling Green Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported numerous stuck vehicles and slide-offs this morning - the Sheriff's Office had 10 to 15 such incidents between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m. The Patrol said that Interstate 75 between the 180 and 192 mileposts was especially problematic.
Perrysburg police reported difficult driving conditions and low visibility.
Bowling Green's Director of Public Works Brian Craft said this morning that the Ohio Department of Transportation is working to secure additional road salt supplies. CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
"Hats off to ODOT Director (Jerry) Wray. He had a conference call Tuesday with all four corners of the state. Everyone is pretty much in the same boat," Craft said. "ODOT expects all of its supply contracts to be fulfilled but is working on a supplemental bid from different resources." Craft said ODOT will likely try to bid for 150,000 tons of salt and the price will likely be higher than the existing contract.Bowling Green declared a snow emergency at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Refuse and recycling pickup in BG has been canceled for today. Craft hopes to be able to pick up the Wednesday route on Thursday, and the Thursday route on Friday.
Refuse and recycling pickup in Perrysburg was also canceled today, and will be delayed one day for the rest of the week.
Britten said county workers will wait to salt roadways until the snow stops and temperatures rise. He did say that, in some cases where salt is not working, they can put stone down for traction. Warmer temperatures over the weekend allowed plows to get off much of the packed ice on the roads, which had been lingering for weeks.
As far as salt supply, Britten said the county's stockpile is "not too bad," though only 400 tons remain on hand. He ordered another 600 tons on Tuesday, and can order an additional 1,000 tons under the current contract with their supplier. However, he said that availability and delivery can be problematic. If suppliers in Toledo run out, the next available location is in Cleveland, and delivery could take up to two weeks.
Noting that plow drivers are currently working 12-hour shifts, he said that many of them will take comp time that they can use later in the year, assisting in the department's bottom line, before taking overtime pay.
"They just get time off and take that in the summer," he said.
With salt in short supply in many communities, Perrysburg crews will also attempt to remove snow from roadways before attempting to melt the ice, so the salt isn't pushed off by plows, said Jon Eckel, director of public service.
"We're in the same boat as everybody else," he said, noting that the city has 800 tons of salt on hand. But with another potential storm this weekend, "we're just going to have to be very conservative," he said.
"It just depends on Mother Nature."
When asked about the financial impact of multiple severe storms this winter, Eckel said he was not ready to release specific information.
"We're way, way over budget, both in salt and overtime."
Chris Douglas, the village administrator for Weston, said most of the previous snow has been cleared.
With the increased snow this year, Douglas said he and his crew have put in quite a bit of overtime plowing and keeping roads open, as well as moving piles of plowed snow.
Douglas said he is on salary, so his 50 or 60 extra hours to date do not cost the village any money.
Another employee also logged 50 or more extra hours.
The administrator has also called in a seasonal employee to assist, who has logged about 40 hours as of Monday.
"I would consider it an old-time normal winter," Douglas said, adding that winds and drifting have caused workers to move snow in areas where they have previously not had to do before.
As for the road salt, Douglas says they have used roughly 40 tons this year, almost twice what was used for the entire winter last year.
He says he normally orders salt every other year and tries to keep between 80 and 100 tons on hand. Thus, Weston still has an adequate supply.
Douglas said he is careful about the usage.
"I've been trying to be stingy with it and using it when I expect a little sun so I know it will work," Douglas said. "We're getting tired of snow like everybody is."
Last week, two members of Rossford City Council expressed concern about the human toll the unrelenting winter weather was taking on their crews. Councilman Jerry Staczek said he was concerned with the physical toll the long hours were taking on the understaffed Public Works Department.
He and Councilwoman Caroline Eckel urged the administration to push to have a civil service exam needed to fill a vacancy in the department.
The council also approved the purchase of the last salt they have reserved under the state purchasing program.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 22:24|
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