PREBLE COUNTY — While teachers and their students are dreaming about their first snow day, the Preble County Engineer’s Office has been preparing to keep area roads and bridges safe.
Long before the weather forecasters issue winter’s first snow alert, Preble County Engineer R. Kyle Cross, P.E., P.S., and his staff have stocked the salt building and completed preventive maintenance on county trucks.
During the fall, engineer office employees spent time examining plows to check for cracks in welds, adjusting salt spreaders and spinners, plus replacing hoses and bearings. Once construction season ended, snow plows were mounted on 15 trucks.
Cross said his office is responsible for 255 miles of county roads, which translates into 510 lane miles to keep clear.
The goal is to keep roads drivable, but not necessarily snow and ice-free. County road crews will work to keep roads passable until a snowstorm ends. Should high winds create sizable snowdrifts, road graders with special “wing” plows and front-end loaders will be used to clear the drifts.
Cross said to be aware that applying salt to roadways is most effective when the temperatures are near 20 degrees.
“So please slow down as the temperature drops to increase your safety,” Cross said.
Once the temperature drops below 20 degrees, according to Cross, the salt becomes less effective and continues to decline as temperatures fall. A light snow often reduces traffic speeds from 3 percent to 13 percent while heavy snow can reduce speeds from 5 percent to 40 percent.
Inclement weather contributes to an increase in vehicle crashes. According to the Federal Highway Administration, four percent of all vehicle crashes are due to snow and slushy pavement. Icy conditions are responsible for another three percent of crashes.
“Weather-related crashes kill an average of nearly 6,000 people each year on American roads. The Preble County Engineer’s Office is working hard to prevent injuries and death on our county roads,” Cross said.