ODOT Fields Complaints About Ohio 7 Conditions

Those traveling along Ohio 7 in Monroe County early Monday afternoon found the highway covered with slush and snow, but the same road was clear just across the border in Belmont County.

Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman David Rose said road workers did the best they could in the relatively heavy snow, but said he understood the complaints motorists called in to the office Monday.

“At that time (approximately 12:30 p.m. Monday), we only had one plow truck going up and down Route 7 in Monroe County,” he said. “Normally, we would have had two, but one of the trucks got stuck in a ditch.”

Monroe County is the northernmost county in ODOT District 10, which stretches as far west as Logan in Hocking County and as far south as Gallipolis in Gallia County. Conversely, Belmont County is the southernmost county in ODOT District 11, which extends westward to Millersburg in Holmes County and northward to Salem in Columbiana County.

“It should not matter,” Rose said of the difference in districts. “The level of service was not up to what we would expect.”

Rose said as much as 10 inches of snow fell throughout areas of District 10 across southeast Ohio.

He said more than 110 plow trucks worked Sunday worked Sunday night through Monday afternoon.

Those experiencing poor road conditions in Belmont, Jefferson or Harrison counties should call 330-339-6633, while Monroe County residents should call 740-568-3900.

Elsewhere, many communities are reporting they are running short on rock salt and facing delays in receiving shipments of fresh material.

ODOT Press Secretary Steve Faulkner said ODOT does its purchasing during the summer.

This involves reaching out to the communities for an estimation of how much salt will be needed. Some communities process or purchase material on their own in addition to ODOT’s supply.

In Belmont County, Engineer Fred Bennett said this winter saw a carryover of 1,500 tons from last year. The county ordered 2,000 tons and received delivery of 800.

“We called them back a week ago for more. We’re waiting on delivery,” he said.

While they are mixing the salt with cinders and grit to stretch the amount, he said stores are running low.

His office is in contact with the salt company and hopes to receive the remaining 1,200 tons, with the possibility of ordering the remaining 1,000 tons. He added the county was fortunate that last year’s mild winter meant a large carryover.

In Harrison County, Doug Crabtree of the engineer’s office said bins were out of salt as of the middle of last week. He said the road salt bin holds a maximum of 250 tons. The county was to take delivery of 200 tons last week, but none had been received as of Thursday. He said thus far the county has used 1,300 tons, twice the normal amount used in winter. Crabtree said a hold has been put on selling to townships and municipalities.

“All we have is cinder mix. We do not have any of the straight salt,” he said, adding that he hopes to receive deliveries this week.

St. Clairsville Service Director Dennis Bigler reported 100 tons in storage and an effort to stretch rock salt. The city has awaited an order for close to a month and orders are usually received in a week.

“We’re definitely using more than normal,” he said. “We’re supposed to be guaranteed 150 tons upon request. We haven’t gotten it.”

Richland Township Trustee Greg Bizzarri said the township ordered 300 tons of rock salt Jan. 6 and got a load Thursday of two truck loads totaling 48-50 tons. He said this amount could last a week.

In Martins Ferry, Service Director Chuck Bennett said he ordered 200 tons Dec. 30, with 100 tons in stock.

“Since then, I only got half of this order in. We have used up all the original 100 tons and the last 100 tons I got in. We’re owed 100 tons from the initial order,” he said, “It’s whatever they can get to me. … We’ve already used up the same amount this year as we used all of last year, and we’ve still got a good month and a half or more of snowy conditions.”