ODOT crews preparing for the first major snowstorm of the season

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Are you ready? Northeast Ohioans sound off.

“I’m not ready for it. For real.”

“I am. I hope everybody else is.”

It will be a widespread, three-day weather event; starting with rain then snow … anywhere from 7-inches to a foot depending on where you live.

We haven’t seen Ohio Department of Transportation plows on the roads since January … pre-pandemic.

So how are crews preparing to go from zero to 100?

Northeast Ohio ODOT spokesperson Amanda McFarland says excluding bridge decks and overpasses, don’t expect to see a lot of pre-treating of roadways this go ‘round…with pavement temperatures currently above freezing.

“We do a 150 point inspection on all of our vehicles to ensure that they are ready to go. So they’re checking everything from the lights to the wiper blades,” McFarland said. “Being that it’s coming in as rain first, we’re not gonna be able to pre-treat the roadways, because that’s just gonna wash away.”

More than 200-plows, hauling 10 tons of salt each, will be hitting the road once the first flake falls.

And with a 15-to-20% decrease in traffic, as many continue to work from home, McFarland says that will make their jobs a little easier.

“…pack your snow brush, make sure you’ve got gas in your car,” she said.

As for the health of ODOT workers, there will be one driver per plow, and trucks will be sanitized in between every 12-hour shift.

“Just like all the other employers, we have health screenings for our employees when they come into work, we take temperatures ask those few health questions,” she said.

ODOT officials say while there have been some cases of COVID-19 within the department, it hasn’t been widespread.

They also say auxiliary workers will be on standby to step-in as need be, as crews will be working around the clock for the first major snowstorm of the season.

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