Technology and chemicals keep local roads clear - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Technology and chemicals keep local roads clear

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Keeping the roads clear during weather like this is obviously a big job. Because of the extreme cold, Ohio Department of Transportation crews have to come up with a different game plan and technology is making that a lot easier.

Long gone are the days of just putting salt down to melt icy and snow covered roads. Nowadays getting down to clear pavement is really a science and some impressive technology is helping plow drivers keep our roads clear .

No matter what the weather, O-DOT has a mix to fight back. Today's cold temperatures call for a specific blend. Dale Calcamuggio is an O-DOT transportation manager, "The mix we are using today is 70% brine, 20% beet juice and 10% calcium chloride. It will work until temperatures of 20-30 below before it freezes."

A special brine making machine, helps them mix that precise blend,"I tell it how many gallons, so let's say one thousand, and then I can punch in 10% of this and 30% of that, then all I do is hit go."

The mix is then added to the salt in the back of the trucks and that blend of technology and chemistry is making life a lot easier for plow drivers like Jeremy Hill, "I like the new set-up. It is a lot more user friendly than the old system."

Among other things, the in-cab equipment monitors air and pavement temperatures and lets the driver know how many pounds of salt mix to put down. Each joystick also helps the driver do his or her job, "This one helps move the plow, this one moves the wing plow up or down and this one lifts the bed up and down. If I want to put down a salt mix I push this and it will start going."

The liquid and salt mixes O-DOT is using today came about in part because of a salt shortage a few years ago. At that point O-DOT had to figure out how to get the job done with less salt. Theresa Pollick is a Public Information Officer for O-DOT in District 2. She says the liquid mixes they added to the salt proved successful, "We looked at ways of improving our operations and using the salt blend worked well and saved money. We use the liquid on salt so it bounces less on the road, which in turn gives us more bang for our buck. It all comes down to saving taxpayers money and to make it safer for them on the roadways."

O-DOT plow drivers are working extended shifts right now and that will continue until the roads are all clear. With a bit of a warm up and snow in the forecast at the end of the week they'll be mixing up another custom blend to fight the elements.

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