Riding With ODOT

by Emily Baird on February 6, 2010 at 10:20 am

The snow may be done, but crews were working all day and continue to work into tonight, treating snow and slush-covered roadways.

WHIZ’s Emily Baird took a ride in one of ODOT’s trucks to talk with a snowplow driver and to see the winter storm through his eyes.

It was a busy night for ODOT in Muskingum County.

"It was snowing pretty heavy at times. We treated (the roads) several times and plowed all night long, " says Snowplow driver Rick Pfeifer.

Pfeifer has worked with ODOT for five years and says this was one of the worst snow storms he’s ever seen. ODOT did call in its auxiliary people for back-up to help battle snow that was piling on the roadways.

"If you don’t and the traffic packs it down, it’ll just turn to ice, and you don’t want that to happen, " says Pfeifer.

It also works with local law enforcement agencies, who provide a second set of eyes on the roadways.

"If they run across a slick spot or something dangerous, they’ll let us know. We’ll try to get there as soon as we can, " says Pfeifer.

ODOT’s number one priority during a snowstorm is to keep the interstate cleared. Then it moves onto US routes and state routes, and while trucks are out, drivers are asking motorists not to crowd the plow.

"That not only makes them nervous, it makes us nervous too because we’re trying to plow, watch the traffic, and watch ourselves, " says Pfeifer.

Pfeifer says while ODOT drivers are trained to know how to treat and clear the roads, the inclement weather conditions can frighten them too.

"I think everybody does from time to time. When you might be plowing along, it’s snowing, and you get a white out. The other motorists can’t see. You can’t see. So. They usually don’t last that long, but it can make you nervous, " says Pfeifer.

Now that the storm system has pulled out of Southeastern Ohio and most main roadways are clear, there’s still the threat of slick road conditions tonight.

"Whenever the temperature drops and the road’s still wet, it can refreeze, " says Pfeifer.

So, ODOT is asking you to use caution if you’re out driving tonight.

I’m Emily Baird for WHIZ News.

To take a closer look at conditions on roadways across Ohio, visit buckeyetraffic.org.