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Published: Wednesday, 11/9/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

State transportation dept. ready to fight snowstorms

BY MIKE SIGOV
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Robert Shirey, equipment manager for the transportation department's Bowling Green district, left, checks connections on a plow. With him Tuesday was Layth Istefan, district highway administrator. Robert Shirey, equipment manager for the transportation department's Bowling Green district, left, checks connections on a plow. With him Tuesday was Layth Istefan, district highway administrator.
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BOWLING GREEN -- Northwest Ohio drivers worried about being able to get around in an unseasonably early snow storm like the one that hit New York late last month can rest a little easier.

The Ohio Department of Transportation's District 2 is nearly finished inspecting its fleet of 125 trucks and is just about ready to cope with a major snowfall, according to Theresa Pollick, a spokesman for the department's district office in Bowling Green.

"We've got all our facilities filled with salt," she said Tuesday. "And this is the final inspection of the trucks. So any additional work that we may have to do on the trucks is fix some hoses, do any of the minor work. We will do that and get our mechanics ready to go."

The department's Bowling Green facility manager goes around to each county about this time every year as "kind of the double eye to look over things and make sure that they are ready to go," the spokesman said during a news conference at the department's annual operational readiness event at its Wood County garage, 13982 Mitchell Rd. near Bowling Green.

"What that means is we're looking at our entire fleet in northwest Ohio where ODOT's District 2 maintains state and federal routes in eight counties: Lucas, Fulton, Wood, Henry, Williams, Seneca, Ottawa, and Sandusky," she said. "With that, we have a fleet of about 125 trucks, and what we are doing is taking a close look and doing the final inspection before winter time to make sure all the plows are ready to go, all the hydraulic hoses are in place, all of the oil is changed, just doing the final inspection of all our equipment to make sure it's ready to go."

The department's garages in Williams, Fulton, and Henry counties were inspected Monday. Lucas and Wood counties' garages and the Northwood facility that covers the interstate were checked Tuesday.

On Wednesday, it is the Ottawa, Sandusky, and Seneca counties' garages' turn, the spokesman said.

Minor equipment flaws were found in the Lucas and Williams counties' garages and the Northwood facility. No major problems are expected Wednesday, according to the department.

"Fixing minor leakages may take from 15 minutes to a couple of hours. And even if it's a major problem, we have other trucks that we can use," the spokesman said.

"Once Ottawa, Sandusky, and Seneca garages are inspected Wednesday, we'll have completed the dry-run cycle."

The number of the trucks varies by county. For example, 15 are at the Northwood facility, 15 in Lucas County, and about 20 in Wood County.

The department also inspects front-end loaders that move salt, and it looks at tankers that are used in cases when salt trucks are modified to haul brine that is used to pretreat the roads.

"We can be ready tomorrow," Ms. Pollick said. "It depends on the amount [of snow]. We obviously look at the forecast. It's an important part of what we do. So you look at this week and you say, 'OK. There's no need. It's 60 degrees today, plus.' "

Contact Mike Sigov at: sigov@theblade.com or 419-724-6089.



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