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.
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 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:
Petrocy, Public Information
Wilkens, P.E., P.S.,
Butler County Engineer
- Phone 513.867.5744 Fax