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