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* News Release *
Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 2:00 p.m.
For Immediate Release


Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens reports that snow and ice control crews are continuing to plow and treat County roads this afternoon after yet another blast of winter weather hit the area just in time for this morning's commute. Snow, wind, and falling temperatures made driving treacherous despite crews being out in full force.

"When the snow falls at that intensity with the high winds and blowing and drifting, it's a challenge for plows to keep up," Wilkens said. "Combine those conditions with morning rush hour traffic and it's a worst case scenario. Our crews are to be commended for doing a terrific job under extremely difficult circumstances."

County crews hit the roads at 12:30 this morning and were able to keep pavements relatively clear most of the night due to warm temperatures and snowfall that was moderate to light. But by about 5:30 a.m. the "bottom dropped out," according to Wilkens. "The snow intensity and wind picked up and temperatures dropped rapidly. Suddenly drifting and freezing of wet, slushy surfaces became an issue for us."

Current Conditions

Since the snow eased up by late morning, crews have been able to make some progress but Wilkens warns that motorists should still use caution, allow extra time, and give the plows plenty of space. Many roads are still snow-covered and drifting will continue to be a concern as gusty winds persist into the afternoon and evening. Re-freezing of any wet or slushy areas could also become a problem as temperatures plummet.

The BCEO has 15 crews working in 12-hour shifts that are currently treating the County road system. It is expected that the next 15-person crew will work into the overnight hours given the forecast for more snow showers and blowing snow.

Road Salt Dwindling

Salt supplies are becoming increasingly tight for many public jurisdictions throughout Butler County and southwest Ohio. "The snowy winter has caused many agencies, including the BCEO, to run through their salt quickly and we're only halfway through the season," said BCEO Operations Deputy Scott Bressler. "At this time we're focusing on salting bridges and overpasses, intersections, hills, and any problem areas as a means to conserve our salt supplies."

The effectiveness of salt drops off considerably below 20 degrees so calcium chloride is often mixed with the salt to improve melting in colder temperatures. Any direct sunshine also helps. Forecasts for overnight lows at or below zero and highs only in the teens the next few days mean that less salt will be spread in an effort to conserve even more, according to Bressler.

The Engineer's Office has two salt barns that hold 6,500 tons each. "We started out the winter with 13,000 tons of salt and, despite occasional replenishments, are at about 5,000 tons right now," Bressler said. The BCEO spreads approximately 6,000 tons on its 266 miles of County roads during an average winter.

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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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