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* News Release *
 
Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 11:00 a.m.
For Immediate Release

ROAD CONDITIONS IMPROVING FOLLOWING SURPRISE SNOW STORM

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens reports that roads on the County system are improving this morning despite very cold temperatures and additional snow showers overnight. "Roads are nearly clear in some spots but slushy to snow-covered in others," he said. "The snow has finally subsided and we are seeing some sunshine which is helping; however, at this point we would still recommend that motorists exercise extreme caution and stay off the roads if it is not necessary to go out."

BCEO road crews have reported considerable blowing and drifting snow in the northern and western townships thanks to strong winds and the dry, fluffy nature of this snow. Front end loaders will be required to remove drifts on North Law Road, Garner Road, Springfield Road, Chapel Road, and State Line Center Road, Wilkens said. "Some of the drifts are too deep for our plows to push through. Using a front end loader is a more efficient way to tackle some of those problem areas."

Salt supplies are holding up with about 1,000 tons still on hand at the Engineer's Office. But crews continue to spread more lightly as salt is harder to come by this year due to a nationwide salt shortage. "Plowing has been the primary means for clearing the roads anyway, due to the huge amounts of snow," Wilkens noted. "But once we get most of the snow off the road we are putting down a layer of salt to assist with melting."

The surprise snow storm dumped up to eight inches in a narrow band across the heart of Butler County from northwest to southeast. Strong winds and near whiteout conditions made it difficult for plow drivers to clear the roads during the height of the storm yesterday afternoon. Radar images showed the storm barely moving as it appeared to hang over Butler and Hamilton Counties at the worst time -- afternoon rush hour. Snowfall rates up to two inches per hour snarled traffic making it difficult for plows to clear the roads. "Some of our trucks were at a standstill, caught in the same traffic jams as everyone else," said BCEO Operations Deputy Scott Bressler. "It was quite simply a very bad storm that hit at the worst possible time."

While traffic was gridlocked in the populous southeastern townships, plow drivers didn't have it much easier in the rural townships either. "Drifting, icing, and vehicles sliding off of roadways made it difficult to maneuver the plows," Bressler said. "But our drivers are dedicated, they enjoy what they do, and they have worked hard to ensure the roads are clear and passable." All 15 of the BCEO's trucks were pressed into service late yesterday morning. Crews worked through the overnight hours and will likely remain on the roads throughout the day. "We'll have to wait and see what tonight brings. With temperatures predicted to fall to near zero, there may be some re-freezing of road surfaces so we may have to keep our crews on duty," Bressler said.

The BCEO Snowfighters have had their hands full since a major storm brought up to a foot of snow and ice to the area last week, another round of light snow Friday night, and then yesterday's dumping. One crew member was touched when a resident on Hamilton New London Road brought him a turkey sandwich and hot chocolate in recognition of his long, hard hours of service. Crews have worked nearly non-stop for over a week. "Fortunately a stretch of warmer weather is forecast which will allow everyone a break and give us a chance to replenish our salt supplies," Wilkens said. That should be good news for motorists too.

# # #

For more information contact:

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


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