Road crews get jump on bad weather

OHIO Department of Transportation and Belmont County Engineering Department employees were out during the night treating roads and making them safe for motorists.

ODOT crews were out all night in Belmont, Harrison, Jefferson and Monroe counties.

A spokesperson at the Ohio Department of Transportation garage, Morristown, said ODOT crews started Tuesday evening and were non-stop all night. They were still treating roads at 5 a.m.

Road crews from the Belmont County Engineering Department were also on the roads early Tuesday and through the night. “We got an early start with our afternoon crew and then our day crew came out early,” said Bob Detling, road supervisor at the Belmont County Roscoe Road garage.

A coating of ice was reported to be on the roads late Tuesday. The Ohio State Highway Patrol in St. Clairsville investigated three crashes. A patrol spokesperson said there were no injuries, and they were one-vehicle crashes. The mishaps occurred on Interstate 470, Ohio 9 and U.S. 40.

State and county roads were reported to be in fairly decent shape this morning. However, officials are advising motorists to drive with caution and take it slow.

As of 5 a.m. Belmont County was still under a Level 1 Emergency which states: “Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads are also icy. Drive very cautiously.”

In Harrison County, work began Tuesday afternoon and continued from 8 p.m. to midnight with 10 trucks on the roads after midnight.

Chris Wood, manager of the ODOT garage, said the problem mostly was snow starting about midnight and then turning to freezing rain about 4 a.m.

“Right now (around 8 a.m.), it’s raining, and the roads are clear and wet,” said Wood. “It didn’t get real cold last night – about 30 in Cadiz.”

Crews in Jefferson County also were out all night, according to Rick Hunsicker, manager of the ODOT garage.

Hunsicker said the Tuesday afternoon crew stayed until midnight, and then another crew came out to work. He added in such storms involving snow and ice, ODOT provides around-the-clock coverage.

He added that salt was put on all 478 lane miles in Jefferson County prior to the storm.

Around 8 this morning, Hunsicker said all state highways in the county were in very good shape and passable.

In Monroe County, Rex McConnell, who is in highway maintenance at the ODOT garage, said he didn’t think there were any major problems regarding the roads, and crews were on the road all night. He added conditions in the northern part of Monroe County had been the worst.

Around 8 a.m., McConnell said the roads in Monroe County were “in pretty good shape,” and the temperature had warmed up a little bit.

A positive response to the weather was given by Wood in Harrison County: “Every day, we’re getting closer to spring. I’ll keep thinking that way.”