Two winters in a row
with below normal snowfall and warmer than normal temperatures
won't keep BCEO snowfighters from preparing for this winter.
"We'll be ready regardless of what's on tap," said
Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens. "Our annual winter
preparation is a tradition that's important and constructive,
but also fun and challenging for our snow plow drivers. We look
forward to it every year."
That tradition includes
the annual truck Roadeo, a friendly competition which allows
crews to practice truck maneuvers through an obstacle course
designed to simulate actual winter situations. BCEO drivers are
joined by their fellow crew members from various other Butler
County cities and townships, who also compete for the best times
and most accurate truck maneuvers.
Prior to the truck
Roadeo, crews will participate in classroom review with BCEO
Operations Deputy Scott Bressler talking about current snow and
ice fighting technologies and the evolution of surface treatments
from slag and salt to calcium and beat juice mixes. The guest
speaker will be Abner Johnson, retired ODOT Transportation Weather
Specialist, who developed, implemented, and managed the statewide
Road and Weather Information System (RWIS). Johnson will discuss
modern weather forecasting, materials application, and how various
types of winter weather impact roadway surfaces and driving.
The Roadeo will take
place next Thursday, October 26 at the Engineer's Office. Classroom
training will begin at 8:00 a.m. with the Roadeo getting under
way by mid-morning.
On Wednesday, October
25, BCEO crews will ready their trucks by completing salt box
and plow installations. They will also perform dry runs of their
snow plow routes. Running their routes in dry weather, without
the distraction of snow and limited visibility, allows our drivers
to re-familiarize themselves, or if it's a new route, become
familiar with various aspects of the route. This can include
any overhead hazards, mailbox placement, pavement cuts or anything
that might trip the plow blade, and new roadway features such
as a newly constructed roundabout.
The BCEO will begin
this winter season with 13,000 tons of salt stored in two barns,
each with a capacity of 6,500 tons. This year the BCEO awarded
its salt contract for the upcoming winter season to Cargill Deicing
Technologies which submitted a low bid of $58.73 per ton (dumped),
which is almost $10 less per ton than last year. This is a fixed
rate so even if road salt is in high demand this winter, the
BCEO is locked in at that price.