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* News Release *
Thursday, October 9, 1997
For Immediate Release


Butler County Engineer Dean C. Foster is preparing for winter with the BCEO's annual Snow Plow ROADEO. This three-day event will conclude tomorrow as drivers take their snow plows on a final run through an obstacle course designed to simulate maneuvers encountered during actual winter conditions. The ROADEO is held on the grounds of the Butler County Engineer's Office.

This year's ROADEO activities got underway yesterday as snow and ice control crews underwent safety training and equipment and maintenance reviews. All drivers are required to review plow blade replacement, calcium fill procedures with gloves and mask, tire chain utilization, and emergency procedures for a stuck vehicle or an accident. Additional driver training includes a detailed vehicle safety inspection, driving actual assigned routes, and steady improvement of their ROADEO course scores.

Salt Ordered, New Weather System Installed

Foster has ordered plenty of road salt for the winter of 1997-98. A contract was awarded for 6,000 tons of salt to Morton International Salt Company of Chicago which submitted a low bid of $29.00 per ton. Last winter the BCEO spread 2,408 tons of salt on County roads. During the winter of 1995-96, crews spread 4,500 tons while 3,300 tons were used in 1994-95.

The BCEO is responsible for keeping 266 miles of County roadway safe and passable and runs eleven snow and ice control routes. Like last year, an additional twelfth route will concentrate primarily on the heavily populated southeastern townships. Routing is determined by a computerized system which takes several factors into account when configuring the most efficient routes for Butler County's salt trucks --- lane miles to be covered, speed limits, spread rates, plus any load limitations on bridges.

A new weather monitoring system has also been installed by the Engineer's Office that will allow more detailed tracking of ground conditions and approaching winter storms. Reports are also utilized from spotters around the County who include township officials, local police and fire agencies, the Sheriff's Department, BCEO staff members, and the general public.

County Engineer Foster and Sheriff Gabbard Clarify
Snow Emergency

A record-setting snow storm in January 1996 prompted the issuance of a Level 3 Snow Emergency in Butler County. Since such instances are rare, many citizens were not familiar with a Level 3 situation.

According to an opinion by the Ohio Attorney General, the Sheriff of a county may declare a snow emergency and temporarily close county and township roads. This is usually done after conferring with the County Engineer and the local Emergency Management Agency when weather conditions have reached emergency proportions. Township trustees and the Ohio Department of Transportation may also be consulted.

There are three levels of snow emergency classifications:

LEVEL 1: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads are also icy. Drive very cautiously.

LEVEL 2: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.

LEVEL 3: All roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on the roads may subject themselves to arrest.

The media is immediately notified whenever a snow emergency is declared. Beginning this year, the BCEO will also post the notification here on its web site under Road and Travel Conditions. Motorists are encouraged to monitor local media outlets or the Engineer's web site for initial notifications plus any changes in the designated level of the snow emergency.

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