ODOT Preparing for Statewide Snow Event


COLUMBUS – Several inches of snow are forecast to blanket the entire state through the weekend, with the heaviest amounts in northern Ohio. Crews from the Ohio Department of Transportation have already been out ahead of the storm preparing equipment and roadways.

Travel is expected to be challenging later this afternoon through Friday for much of the state. Heavier lake-effect snow is expected to hit portions of northeast Ohio later Friday and Saturday.

“Heavy snow combined with frigid temperatures could make travel incredibly difficult at times. I encourage all drivers to be extra careful if they must travel,” said Governor Mike DeWine.

Salt is the main tool in ODOT’s toolbox, but it begins to lose effectiveness when pavement temperatures drop below 20 degrees. To combat this, ODOT uses additives like calcium chloride and even a product that uses beet molasses.

“Our team is ready for whatever Mother Nature hands us, but we want to make sure Ohioans are ready too. During the storm, roads will likely be snow-covered – passable, not perfect. Travel will take longer, and drivers will need to go slow,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.

Jan 18 Snow Stats

ODOT utilizes nearly 3,000 drivers who often work 12-hour shifts during snow and ice events. ODOT’s fleet includes around 1,500 plow trucks maintained by a team of 250 mechanics. ODOT maintains more than 43,000 lane miles of state and U.S. routes outside municipalities and all interstates in Ohio, except the Ohio Turnpike.

So far this year, ODOT snowplows have been struck 8 times while out on duty. This includes 4 plows hit on Tuesday.

“There is no reason for anyone to hit one of our plow trucks,” said Marchbanks. “These trucks are highly visible. Drivers need to slow down, pay attention, and give our crews room to work.”

The plow strikes have occurred in Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lucas, Paulding, and Richland counties. A 5,000-gallon salt brine tanker was hit in Allen County.