Frigid temps pose challenge for ODOT road crews - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Frigid temps pose challenge for ODOT road crews

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Road crews are out in full force trying to keep the roadways clear. This weekend's snow poses a particular challenge.

Blowing and drifting snow is always an issue for plow drivers, especially in rural areas. But you also have to factor in the temperature. When it's this cold, crews can't pre-treat the roads.

"With these high winds and these cold temps, we will not be able to pre-treat until we see relief from both of them," says ODOT Spokesperson Theresa Pollick. "That's very important to remember."

It's difficult but not impossible.

"We have a lot of tools in our arsenal," says District 2 Deputy Director Todd Audet.

Those tools include everything from calcium chloride to grit and beets.

"We'll use the beet heat, which is a beet derivative that has the ability to melt snow and ice at a lower temp. It's very expensive, but we apply that at locations that are safety critical," Audet says.

He says, since it's too cold to use salt, the goal is to scrap as much snow off the roads as possible and the use a different "mix"  to create traction for drivers.

"When conditions get as bad as it is now, we'll start using it, and it's basically sand and helps improve friction at intersections," he says.

The good news is, even though it's been an active season, ODOT still has plenty of supplies to get through this storm and many more.

"We have 12 districts and 88 counties, so there's a lot of salt," Audet says. "We can move it where we need to."

This has been an expensive winter so far for the department. Leaders say they've already spent more than in an average season, and there's still plenty of winter to go.

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