ODOT touts site as winter looms

Monclova garage saves time, recycles wastewater as brine


When snow flies this winter in the Toledo area, plow drivers at the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Lucas County maintenance garage will spend 20 fewer minutes getting to and from the highways they maintain than they have in the past.

And when they bring their trucks back to the new garage on Technology Drive in Monclova Township, the water used to wash off salty road grime will be piped into storage tanks for use in making fresh batches of salt brine to spray back onto the roads.

Those were among the advantages state officials noted Thursday about operating at the new garage, which opened about five months ago to replace the Lucas County ODOT garage on South Detroit Avenue in Toledo.

State crews could soon put those improvements to work, too: AccuWeather Inc. said Thursday that a cold blast of Arctic air expected to invade the Midwest and Northeast next week could coincide with a coastal storm to bring an early snowfall to the Ohio Valley.

The private forecasting service in State College, Pa., said it’s too soon to know how much snow might fall where, but warned people from Minnesota to Massachusetts to expect freezing daily high temperatures during the cold spell.

The Lucas County garage is responsible for maintaining the north-south leg of I-475 and U.S. 23 from Perrysburg to the Michigan border, including 4 miles in Wood County, as well as all other state highways in Lucas west and southwest of Toledo. It also oversees the Northwood Outpost, which maintains the rest of metro Toledo’s freeways down to the I-75/‚ÄčI-475 split in Perrysburg.

“We’re just minutes from the interstate system now,” said Jeff O’Neal, ODOT’s transportation administrator in charge of the Lucas County garage.

The location in an industrial area also means trucks maneuvering around the maintenance yard during the wee hours of stormy nights won’t wake up the neighborhood with their backing-up alarms. And the facility has covered storage for its vehicles.

The new garage’s truck-wash bay includes floor-mounted sprayers to hit vehicles’ undercarriages, and besides using salty wastewater, its brine-production equipment electronically monitors the mixture and is three times faster than the setup at the old garage.

ODOT uses brine to treat pavement before storms to weaken its bond with ice and to “pre-wet” rock salt sprayed by trucks during storms so it goes to work faster and is less likely to bounce or blow off roadways.

This year, Mr. O’Neal said, state crews will use three full-size tank trucks to spray brine on Toledo-area highways, which will allow ODOT to treat much more mileage during the hours leading up to storms than was previously possible.

Nearly all of ODOT’s plows and salt trucks will now have green and fluorescent-yellow chevrons on their backs to make them more visible.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.