February 6, 2014. What a difference 12 hours makes.
Now that the winter weather has passed, the road crews have had a chance to clear out the muck from the roads. ODOT became a salt truck in shining armor by announcing that they will deliver supplies of road salt to many local communities. In return, they are simply asking for equal quantities of salt delivered to be sent back to them, either later in the winter season or during the off-season.
School buildings are once again open for lessons, and walkways have been cleared. Most of the parking lots have also been plowed, although the school’s supply of salt has not yet been replenished. To view the grounds through the window, it looks like a winter wonderland you might see on a postcard or after-school special, not the aftermath of some horrendous winter weather.
According to weather.com, the five day forecast is going to be pretty much like today, with a higher chance of snow on the weekend. Plan on having classes the rest of the week. While the weather will be behaving, please take your time getting to your destination.
Some staggering facts for you: according to ODOT, the amount of salt used through the end of January was over 620,000 tons of road salt. This is nearly three times what we used up last year by this time, and almost double what was used for all of winter two years ago. There are still some communities that have not replenished their supply of salt, as noticed on this reporter’s commute in to school this morning, so some extra time is still recommended. For now, though, the roads and sidewalks are clear enough to come in. Check your school email or Blackboard classes for specific class information, just in case your instructor is one of those still “plowed in.”
Steve Faulkner, the press secretary for ODOT, confirmed that the department is footing the bill for more salt. ODOT is going for another contract this winter in a service offered specifically for some of the localities who have already run low. This salt will be delivered to “seven strategic locations” where communities will be able to receive salt. Faulkner confirmed that Cuyahoga County is one of these locations. This service “is being offered at no charge,” he stated. The only condition is that any salt a community borrows be repaid either later this winter or during the off season.
This is possible because ODOT offers all communities in Ohio the opportunity to enter into a buying power agreement with ODOT, who has the capability of receiving up to 120% of the contracted amount of salt at the original price. It is then up to the individual communities to arrange for payment and delivery locations. Any salt beyond that contract would then be delivered at the market rate.
Faulkner also requested that drivers who come across ODOT plows steer clear, and don’t get too close. Let the plow drivers do their job in clearing the snow. This also means to not follow too closely. What many people do not know is that there are many different approaches to clearing the snow and ice; “it’s not just a man or woman climbing into a plow” and clearing the snow.