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Government


Winter Sets Records for ODOT
This winter's snow and ice led to record spending for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Story by BRIAN BULL


 
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You can say many things about this most recent winter, some maybe not repeatable on-air. But as far as the Ohio Department of Transportation is concerned, this winter is best described as “record smashing." For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN's Brian Bull reports.
LISTEN: A brutal and expensive winter

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Polar vortexes, lblasting windchills and lots of snow: Essentially, it’s been a winter wonderland turned arctic nightmare for many in Ohio, especially motorists. 

ODOT spokesman Steve Faulkner says he’s been tracking his department’s efforts to keep highways and bridges clear and safe since the first snow event in mid-October. Flash-forward to late March, and what do state road crews have to show for it?

“ODOT snowplows have driven more than 13 million miles of roadway in Ohio," Faulkner said. "We’ve spent more than $100 million; that’s on labor, equipment, and materials.  ... An average winter in Ohio, we might use around 630,000 tons of salt to treat our roadways. This year, we have used more than 1 million tons of salt on Ohio’s roadways. To reach that million-ton point is a record breaker for us.”

Compare that to two winters ago, when ODOT used just 370-thousand tons of salt. Faulkner says road crews have worked in all kinds of conditions, and there have been dozens of collisions with vehicles that tailed plows and salt trucks too closely. He says the crews are ready for spring.

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