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* News Release *
 
Monday, August 5, 2002
For Immediate Release

WHILE BUTLER COUNTY SWELTERS, BCEO PREPARES FOR WINTER
Four New Snow Plows Arrive

As Butler Countians suffer through a long, hot summer, the Engineer's Office has been busily preparing for the upcoming winter. Despite weeks of 90 to 100 degree heat, Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens says that his office is ready for colder days ahead with last week's arrival of four new state-of-the-art snow plows.

Wilkens emphasized the cost-efficiency of the new snow and ice control trucks by noting that the time to convert them from warm weather dump trucks to salt trucks takes only 15 minutes versus one hour, which decreases labor costs by 75 percent. The stainless steel dump beds won't rust and can be removed and placed on a new truck in the future. Moreover, the plows are not painted but powder coated -- a process in which the paint is baked on, giving them a longer life span with no refurbishing costs since there is no chipping and rusting.

The new tandem-axle trucks replace 15-year old single-axle trucks and hold 14 tons of salt -- almost double the amount of the old trucks. "This means less time spent driving back to the salt barn to reload," Wilkens said. "This is particularly advantageous when considering that we have added numerous multi-lane roads to the County system in recent years. Lane miles have increased with the addition of Union Centre Boulevard and the widening of roads such as Tylersville, Muhlhauser, West Chester and the soon to be completed Cincinnati Dayton and Cox Road projects." For example, Union Centre Boulevard has a total length of 4.8 miles, but its multiple lanes translate into 20.2 miles of roadway surface that must be plowed and maintained by the Engineer's Office.

"From the driver's standpoint, these new trucks are also much safer," Wilkens added. "The trucks are equipped with air ride cabs and seats. In other words, they actually ride on a cushion of air, providing a smoother ride and reducing driver fatigue." Wilkens also noted that a new body style dramatically increases driver visibility.

New LED flashing emergency lights have been installed on the trucks, making the BCEO only the second government agency in Ohio to incorporate this lighting system. Another safety and cost efficient feature is tire chains that activate with the flip of a switch while driving on ice. "If one of our drivers encounters worsening conditions, such as the onset of freezing rain, he flips a switch while driving and never has to stop. This eliminates costly down time involved with the manual installation of chains, which requires two people and about an hour of work," Wilkens said.

Purchase of the $108,000 trucks is part of the Engineer's plan to reduce operating costs and avail more money for road and bridge projects. "Revenues have remained relatively flat while expenses have increased," according to Wilkens. "We will continue to look for ways to cut costs while improving efficiency and safety for the motoring public and our employees."

Salt Bids Advertised

Salt bids for the upcoming winter are now being advertised and will be received until August 20. After all bids are reviewed by the Engineer's Office, the County Commissioners will award a contract to the lowest qualified bidder. The BCEO averages about 3,700 tons of salt for a typical Butler County winter with spread rates that average about 800 pounds per mile.

Although the past two winters have seen less snow than normal, the number of snow and ice control incidents has remained about average. Crews must treat the roads whether there is one inch or six inches of snow.

Photo 1: New snow and ice control trucks - side view with salt dome in background (August 2002).
Photo 2: New snow and ice control trucks - front view (August 2002).
Photo 3: New snow and ice control truck - close-up side view (August 2002).
Photo 4: New snow and ice control truck - close-up front view (August 2002).

# # #

For more information contact:

Chris Petrocy, Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849


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