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
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.
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
- Greg Wilkens, Butler
- Scott Bressler, BCEO
- 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.
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.
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.