It’s going to be a very busy weekend for local, county and state road crews with a winter storm now just hours away.
Unlike the storms we’ve seen so far this season, this weekend will present some unique challenges for those trying to keep our roads safe.
“Really, this is kind of like a triple whammy type of storm here. You’re gonna start out with that heavy snow. We’re gonna get a lot of snow Saturday and there’s also going to be wind involved, too,” said Justin Chesnic, with the Ohio Department of Transportation. “That wind makes things very difficult, especially on those rural routes and routes prone to drifting.”
ODOT plow driver Ben Crumbacher hopes other drivers will leave him plenty of room to work this weekend.
“Especially with the amount of snow we’re gonna get, the amount of snow I’ll be pushing and the amount of snow that’ll be coming off the plow. If you have any intentions of passing, I don’t suggest it,” he said.
Crumbacher’s truck will be one of more than 40 on the roads at any given time in Mahoning and Trumbull counties this weekend. He’s assigned to a portion of Route 11 and expects to log close to 300 miles going back and forth during each of his 12-hour shifts.
In Mercer County, drivers will work around the clock as well.
“We’re gonna concentrate on our interstates first and our main routes and then work down to our secondaries,” said Darrell Chapman, with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
With snow expected to add up to an inch or more an hour at times on Saturday, Chapman said crews will be doing what they can to keep up until the storm passes. He’s urging people to be patient.
“We’ll be there eventually,” he said. “We run 45-mile routes with our trucks so we can’t be every place at once.”
When the storm begins late Saturday morning, drivers will plow and use salt where needed.
“As long as those temperatures are above 20 to 22 degrees, they’ll be plowing and treating with salt,” said Justin Chesnic, with ODOT.
As the mercury drops Sunday and Monday, calcium and beet juice will be added to the mix to help clear the roads.
In the meantime, officials are reminding drivers to avoid unnecessary travel, especially during the height of the storm.
“If you absolutely have to be out Saturday and Sunday morning, prepare for adverse weather conditions. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get from Point A to Point B,” Chesnic said.