CLEVELAND- The FOX I-Team has found city and state road crews going hi-tech to find better ways to plow your roads. So we’re investigating what they’re doing and what it means to drivers like you.
We also found what’s not working. The City of Cleveland had said you would be able to track plows online, but the I-Team discovered you cannot.
Last winter, the I-Team revealed the Ohio Department of Transportation testing cameras in plows to give headquarters a LIVE look at road conditions. Now, the state is buying “several dozen” of the cameras for plows around the state. The cameras should be installed and running in the next month or so.
ODOT is also testing a device that gauges road conditions just as sensors do when they’re built into the highway. But the device being tested is mounted on a truck and can be driven around to tricky weather areas.
ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning said the mobile sensor captures many factors. He said, "Is there snow? Is there ice? Is there dry pavement? Is it wet where we put salt and brine on top of that? What's the temperature of the pavement? All of that goes into how we attack snow and ice.” He added, "Technology plays a bigger and bigger role when it comes to snow and ice fighting.”
And new this winter, Cleveland has started using a new tracking system for plows so supervisors will know exactly where each plow is at any time. Last month, the city held a news conference saying you would be able to click on a website and check your neighborhood, too. So we tried it.
We clicked on it. And we only found a map showing streets under a city parking ban because of the snow.
A little later, city hall told us there had been a misunderstanding. The system is not set up for anyone in the public to see where the plows are. The city hopes to make that possible in the future, but it’s not clear when that might be.
Meantime, even rock salt has become advanced. In Brunswick, street crews have been testing a form of rock salt designed to work more quickly. That test is still ongoing.
So a lot is happening with the way plow crews clear the way for you. But at the same time, it doesn’t happen quickly.