XENIA — Snow was falling Nov. 7, but Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Greene County was ready.
ODOT hosted a winter readiness inspection day at the new Greene County garage on Innovation Way Nov. 6. District 8 auto technicians and mechanics checked out every piece of equipment — trucks, loaders and more — checking off their inspection lists all morning.
“Because snow and ice is really important, we want to make sure all the equipment is up and running and there are no issues before we go out,” Kathleen Fuller, District 8 public information officer said. “If there are any problems we can get them addressed now.”
Tom Bargo, district auto technician, worked alongside Craig Haddix to inspect the trucks’ plows, lights, engines and tires.
“Mechanics have already done inspections. This is a third check. We still find a few things — a light out occassionally, a loose bolt,” Bargo said. “We check plows for cracks. The trucks are used all year, but the plows are just used in the winter so they sit all summer. This is just another set of eyes before they hit the road.”
The team said the goal is to prevent breakdowns and keep trucks on the road. ODOT trucks cover state and federal routes.
“If a truck is down, then you have a route not getting plowed and that becomes a pretty big deal,” Bargo said. “We don’t have many spare trucks.”
Part of the inspection process is to make sure each truck is outfitted with a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, flares, accident repair kit and other small items.
Fuller explained trucks have road and pavement sensors, as well as cameras to allow the ODOT office to see real-time roadway conditions.
“It allows communication between the garage and the drivers. They can gage the storm, see how much salt is needed and how things are progressing,” she said.
This will be the first winter operating out of the new garage, which opened in September and houses at least 25 pieces of equipment. Fuller said a newer facility protects the equipment and extends the life of the trucks.
“It’s very important that our roads are clear and clean,” she said. “We can’t predict the weather but if we can combat what Mother Nature brings us, that’s good.”
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498. Follow @annadbolton on Facebook.