Prepping for the snow: Workers hit the streets

Snow expected through Sunday

CHAD PLAUCHE-ADKINS The Marietta Times Marietta Public Facilities workers pre-treat the Parking Partners' parking lot on Third Street on Friday.

Some residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley maybe planning a weekend in with snow expected to fall , but for the men and women who keep the roads passable during the winter, that forecast means it’s time to get to work.

Ashley Rittenhouse, District 10’s public information officer for ODOT, said on Friday her organization was being proactive about the season’s first significant snow event.

“The county engineers are keeping a close eye on the forecast,” she said.

The National Weather Service issued winter weather advisory Friday afternoon forecasting up to five inches of accumulation from 6 a.m. Saturday to noon on Sunday.

“We do have crews out now pre-treating the roads,” said Rittenhouse, on Friday.

Tanner Huffman, Marietta’s Public Facilities supervisor, said his crew was pre-treating as well on Friday.

“The pre-treatment really works,” he said.

Both ODOT and the city use salt as their main form of treatment before the snow falls, said Huffman and Rittenhouse.

With snow events that are well forecast like this one, Huffman said it enables crews to take care of all the stairs and walkways in the city as well as decreasing his department’s overall workload.

“When we know it’s going to snow like this we go ahead and pre-treat all the parking lots and then plow after it’s done snowing,” he said.

When rogue snow storms come through the area that aren’t expected, Huffman said pavement doesn’t get the pre-treatment. This makes keeping the city’s parking lots free of snow a constant battle, he said.

“We have to keep plowing it again and again to keep up,” he said. “It makes for a very long day.”

Rittenhouse said regardless of how much snow accumulates over the weekend, ODOT is ready.

“It doesn’t matter if we get a dusting to a few inches, we are prepared to handle it,” she said.

Rittenhouse said the 30,000 tons of salt still in storage in the district can cover any needs that arise during the weekend snowfall. She said the need for salt this season has been less than winter, though.

“At this time last year we had already used 20,000 tons of salt,” she said. “We are only at 5,000 tons so far this year.”

Both Huffman and Rittenhouse said there are some precautions people should make when close to snow removal trucks on the roads.

“They do travel below the posted speeds,” said Rittenhouse. “People also need to be aware that the blades do cross the center line and go onto the shoulder.”

“Give us a little room,” said Huffman. “People always seem to start crowding the plow.”

Even though ODOT doesn’t have a recommended distance to stay behind plow trucks to avoid the salt being put down, Rittenhouse said to take advantage of the one thing that seems to be lacking in hazardous driving conditions.

“Just use your common sense,” she said.

At a glance

•What: First significant snow fall of the year expected.

•When: Saturday into Sunday.

•Forecast: Two to five inches of snow.

•Plows: ODOT District 10 has 100 trucks ready for snow removal, Marietta has two.

Source: Times research.