XENIA — While most county residents were home, trying to stay comfortable and warm, dozens of city, county, and state employees were out in the freezing rain and sleet trying to keep the roads clear and safe.
Freezing rain and sleet fell most of the morning before transitioning to snow late in the afternoon.
“Current forecasts by the National Weather Service shows six to eight inches (Thursday) afternoon and evening,” said County Engineer Stephanie Goff. “Night crews came in at 11 p.m. (Wednesday) night and did a good job overnight with freezing rain. Our day crew came in at 7 a.m. and have kept our roads in good condition given the weather Mother Nature is throwing at us.”
The county runs two shifts of 13 employees to ensure that every county road is treated quickly and efficiently, according to Goff.
“We run 10 tandem trucks and two pickup single-axle trucks,” she said. “Each tandem truck carries 12 tons of salt and each single axle truck carries 10 tons. Our night crew will come back in at 7 p.m. (Thursday) and will run through the night. We will continue to run round the clock and alternate between the day and night crews, most likely thought the weekend.”
Goff added that the county only plows and salts county roads while the Ohio Department of Transportation does state/federal roadways.
“We do not maintain city streets,” she said. “We do cover 324 center-line miles. Fortunately there has not been a lot of traffic. Right now we’re fighting blowing and drifting snow. We’ll be watching for downed tree sand power lines.”
Other departments help out when needed, such as the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
“Honestly, traffic has been very light today. People have prepared for it which has helped,” said Lt. Robert Hilderbrandt, Ohio State Highway Patrol Xenia post commander. “Accidents have been all over. They’re not the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s like pushing slush around and will affect the traction of your vehicle. I have all available troopers working, six troopers working the day shift (6 a.m. to 2 p.m.). We will mandate some overtime if the need exists.”
Hilderbrandt said the post tries to “stay proactive.”
”We check the major roadways to see if anyone is broken down, investigate crashes that occur, and help motorists get to safety,” he said.
Hilderbrandt advised residents to use caution when out on the roads.
“Drive slower, dress appropriately for the weather, and keep safety supplies in your car,” he said. “Please wear your seat belts. Watch the roads, be cautious as you drive.” For construction updates and traffic advisories, go to www.odot.gov.
Sheriff Scott Anger issued a Level 1 snow emergency, which was upgraded to a Level 2 snow emergency around 6 p.m. He said motorists took the advisories seriously.
“Everyone is doing a good job of keeping off the streets and we appreciate that,” Anger said. “We have not had an inordinate amount of accidents. We’re happy people continue to get out, just drive safely.” a
Level 1 means roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Drive cautiously.
Level 2 means roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be very icy. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work. Drivers should use extreme caution.
Level 3 means all roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be driving during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel or a personal emergency exists. Those travelling on the roads could be subject to arrest.
Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.