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* News Release *
Thursday, October 15, 2009
For Immediate Release

Annual Snow Summit and ROADEO

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens is getting his snowfighters team ready for the upcoming winter with two annual events designed to sharpen road crew skills and improve Countywide efficiency.

The BCEO will host a Regional Snow Summit next Thursday, October 22, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon at the Engineer's Office. Wilkens' goal is to bring public safety and snow and ice control officials together to help facilitate better organization among agencies during severe winter weather events. Those gathered will learn, discuss, and work to better organize winter operations, policies, and procedures. Some of the topics on the agenda include snow advisory communications, dispatch and notification procedures, fire and police operations, as well as Weather Tap, Butler County's new real-time weather service.

Attending the Summit will be management teams and supervisors who play a role in winter weather operations for the County, cities, townships, and various other agencies, including the Red Cross, Police and Fire Chiefs Associations, and representatives from local school districts.

Prior to last year's Summit, Wilkens' stated that the primary purpose is to ensure that everyone is on the same page. "We hope to build a more efficient model for Countywide snow and ice control based on intra-agency cooperation and saving tax dollars. There may be some crossover of responsibilities among agencies or there may be some gaps that need to be covered. We want to explore everything."

An open forum discussion will follow a series of short presentations by various speakers, including:

  • Greg Wilkens, Butler County Engineer
  • Scott Bressler, BCEO Operations Deputy
  • Jeff Galloway, Director, Butler County EMA
  • Captain R. A. Greer, Butler County Sheriff's Office
  • Richard St. John and Phil Clark, Police / Fire Chiefs Associations
  • Diana Clonch and Abner Johnson, Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Nicholas Hollan, American Red Cross - Cincinnati Chapter

Snowfighters Truck ROADEO

The Snowfighters Truck Roadeo will get under way the following week. During this event snow plow drivers from cities and townships throughout Butler County will join BCEO crews for three days of in-class training sessions, sharing of ideas and procedures, and the actual roadeo competition. The competition provides an opportunity for crews to practice truck maneuvers through an obstacle course designed to simulate actual winter situations.

"It's a good opportunity for our snow plow drivers to hone in on their skills, develop good safety practices, and familiarize themselves with their trucks," Wilkens said. "It also provides the means to interact with fellow drivers and work on their skills together."

The entire ROADEO program will run three days starting October 28. Training and review will begin the program with BCEO snow plow drivers running the roadeo course to wrap up on Friday. In between, crews will perform salt box and plow installations, clean and ready their trucks for winter, and do a dry run of their routes.

"The better prepared we are the safer we will be when the snow begins to fly," said Operations Deputy Scott Bressler who is coordinating the Snow Summit and ROADEO event. Last year, 5,320 tons of salt were spread on the 275 miles of County-maintained roads. This is slightly below average despite a period of heavy snow and ice storms in late January and early February, due in part to curtailing salt usage because of a nationwide road salt shortage.

Salt Contract Awarded

The Butler County Engineer's Office awarded its salt contract last April to North American Salt Company which submitted a low bid of $62.01 per ton. That is the earliest Wilkens' agency has ever awarded a salt contract for the following winter season. "Salt shortages the past couple of years have dictated that we move early in an effort to get the best pricing," he said. "We've been very fortunate to avoid the exhorbitant costs incurred by other agencies around the region. It is our understanding however that salt should be more plentiful this year, although we will still want to use it wisely and efficiently."

There are currently 6,000 tons of road salt now piled in the BCEO's salt barn -- enough to last through an average winter.

# # #

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

Questions or comments about this web site? Email to BCEO Webmaster.

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