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* News Release *
 
Thursday, October 20, 2011
For Immediate Release

BUTLER COUNTY ENGINEER'S OFFICE READIES FOR WINTER
Snow Summit, Roadeo, New Salt Barn

As the region suffers through yet another dreary onslaught of rain, pushing us ever closer toward the all-time record for the wettest year ever, the Butler County Engineer's Office is thinking snow. Preparations are under way for the BCEO's annual Snow Summit next week as well as the annual Snowfighters Truck ROADEO scheduled to be held in early November.

New for this winter will be an additional salt storage facility gracing the BCEO landscape. Slated to be built next to the existing salt barn this new facility will hold 6,500 tons of salt, same as the current one. "The added space will double our storage capacity," said County Engineer Greg Wilkens. "This will provide us with more buying power to keep prices low. It will also make us less dependent on re-stocking during periods when salt supplies run low."

Dwindling salt supplies have been a nationwide issue during recent harsh winters causing salt to be in high demand. The BCEO has been able to avoid the salt shortage problems that have plagued other agencies throughout the region thanks to strategic planning by Wilkens' staff and an already large salt facility. "The additional salt barn will give us even more cushion and allow us to help our townships and cities during times of shortage," Wilkens added.

Construction of the new salt storage facility was begun in early October. It should be completed and filled with salt by year's end. The BCEO awarded its salt contract for the upcoming winter season last April to Cargill Deicing Technology which submitted a low bid of $65.89 per ton. This is only slightly more than the previous year's bid of $64.48 per ton.

Snow Summit

The BCEO's annual Snow Summit will be held this Monday, October 24 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon at the Engineer's Office. Public safety officials will gather to discuss and 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. 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.

Scheduled to speak are:

  • Greg Wilkens, Butler County Engineer
  • Scott Bressler, BCEO Operations Deputy
  • Jeff Galloway, Director, Butler County EMA
  • Benjamin Rhode, Manager of Safety & Compliance, Butler County Rural Electric
  • Matt Franke, Radio Communications Director, Butler County Sheriff's Office
  • Abner Johnson, Statewide RWIS Coordinator, Ohio Department of Transportation

Among topics presented will be the 2011-12 winter plan, EMA/EOC during winter storms, dealing with ice and power lines, the Butler County Sheriff's new 800 Mhz radio communications system, and weather basics. An open forum discussion will follow.

Snowfighters Truck ROADEO

Another component of winter preparedness is the BCEO's annual Snowfighters Truck ROADEO which will be held on November 2 and 3. Snow plow drivers from cities and townships throughout Butler County will join BCEO crews for in-class training, review of safety procedures, salt truck preparation, 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. BCEO crews will also run their actual snow plow routes, familiarizing themselves with various features along the way.

Don't Crowd the Plow

Your friends at the the Butler County Engineer's Office remind motorists to use caution when driving in snow and ice, especially around salt trucks and plows. Don't follow too closely. Allow plenty of stopping distance. Don't try to pass a snow plow unless absolutely necessary. And don't assume the plow driver can see you. Remember, they're driving in the same treacherous conditions that you are, but they're also operating a large truck with many controls involving the salt and calcium spreaders as well as the front plow blade. Give them plenty of space.

For more winter driving tips and other interesting information, please visit the BCEO's snow and ice control web page.

# # #

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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