SIDNEY — Ohio Department of Transportation crews are working 12 hour shifts to clear roadways during the winter storms that are pummeling Shelby County and beyond.
Tiffany Oliphant, a public information officer for ODOT District 7, said just before noon Monday there were 119 ODOT crews on the roads throughout the district, which includes Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery and Shelby counties. They were nearing the end of their shift, which began at midnight.
ODOT District 7, headquartered in Sidney, maintains more than 4,600 lane miles of interstate, federal and state highways throughout its nine-county region.
Along with plowing, the ODOT crews utilize rock salt and calcium chloride to treat roadways. The calcium chloride helps break down salt and allows it to better stick to pavement.
Oliphant urged people to stay home if possible during the storms, which are making driving conditions hazardous.
“If you don’t have to go out, stay home so we can get our job done,” she said. “We can get our job done. We can get the roads clear so everybody can get to their destination safely.”
For those who do have to go out, Oliphant said, people should be sure to slow down.
“Take it slow, take it easy so we can all get home,” she said.
She also said people should give ODOT crews plenty of room on the roadways.
“Don’t crowd our plows,” she said, adding six ODOT crews have been hit by other motorists statewide in the past week. “Give our crews room to do their job.
“Don’t get right behind the plow. You feel like that’s a safe place, but it’s not a safe place. Give them some distance.”
People also should avoid distractions while driving and pay attention to the road.
“Pay attention on the roads,” Oliphant said. “If they have to get out on the roads, pay attention.”
Oliphant said people also need to be aware that road conditions can change quickly, and bridges and overpasses can be especially treacherous.
“The pavement may be clear, but that doesn’t mean the conditions can’t change in the drop of a minute,” she said.
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