Behind the Plow: ODOT working overtime in snow

7:04 PM, Feb 1, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The Ohio Department of Transportation remains on alert for more possible lake affect storms.

As if to punish the northeast for spring-like tempatures earlier in the week, the lake affect snow came with a vengeance.

It came in the middle of the night and with 30-mile-an-hour wind gusts.

"Two inches an hour is a lot to keep up with," ODOT spokesperson Amanda Lee said.

Anticipating winter's worst, ODOT had 80 plow trucks and drivers on standby and scheduled to work 12-hour shifts since 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Wind chills put air temperatures in the single digits. Road temperatures were so cold crews added calcium chloride to the mix to keep the salt on the roads.

At the rate the snow was falling, trucks had to clear the way in tandem.

"You can clear two lanes and they will work together so all that snow can't get pushed off and not into another lane," Lee said.

Traffic snarls plagued the morning rush hour. Northbound Interstate 71 looked more like a parking lot. Drivers complained of taking double and triple the usual time to get to work. Blowing and drifting snow was to blame.

"The crews go through once. Five minutes later, it's covered up again, just like when you shovel your driveway," Lee said.

After the lunch hour, motorists got a break but plow crews did not. They stayed busy clearing the median and berm.

For all their hard work overnight, plow crews were less appreciated in better conditions. Motorist now trying to make up time had not time for those who got them this far.


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