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
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
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
- 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
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
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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