In preparation for the upcoming winter season, officials from the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission last week performed a 136-point inspection of all snowplows and equipment in operation at the Swanton maintenance facility and others across the state.
“The importance of these inspections is to make sure the snowplow trucks are ready to go for the safety of all our patrons who rely on the Ohio Turnpike for their travel needs,” said Jeff Landel, superintendent of the Ohio Turnpike’s Western Division, which includes the maintenance facilities in Pioneer, Swanton, Elmore, and Castalia. “It’s about the readiness of the fleet.”
Landel, a resident of Edgerton, began his career at the Ohio Turnpike as a Maintenance Worker Class II Roadway employee, which included working as a snowplow truck operator, in 1996.
“It’s been a rewarding career,” added Landel, who climbed the ranks with several job promotions over more than two decades to become superintendent in 2021. “You go out there on those nights when it’s snowing heavily, and you know a large number of people traveled safely because of the job you did. It makes you feel good, especially during the holidays when families are traveling and there is increased traffic on the turnpike.”
This year, more than 100 snowplows will be available to maintain the 1,395 lane miles, 31 toll plaza interchanges, and 14 service plazas along the Ohio Turnpike, which traverses through 13 counties in northern Ohio.
“When the snowplow crews are in action, motorists should take every precaution to avoid passing snowplows and allow extra space for the snowplow drivers to clear the road,” said Ferzan Ahmed, executive director of the turnpike commission in Berea. “Don’t crowd the plow. The safest place to be on the road is behind a snowplow.”
The maintenance checklist includes an inspection of all engine parts, plowing equipment, tires, lights, and other components as well as a test calibration of the salt and liquid de-icing systems, and more.
During the 2021-2022 season, the Ohio Turnpike handled 55 winter storm events, one more than the previous season. Roadway and maintenance crews worked more than 32,000 hours to keep the turnpike and facilities clear of snow and ice.
More than 309,000 gallons of de-icing liquid and 56,000 tons of salt were used to remove snow and ice from the roadway and bridges in 2021-2022. On average, about 293,000 gallons of liquid chemicals and 65,000 tons of salt are used per year.
Plow contest returns
The Ohio Turnpike’s second annual Name-a-Snowplow contest begins this week.
Here are the contest rules:
• The name submission period runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 20;
• Ohio Turnpike officials will select 50 names for a public vote. The voting period runs from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2;
• The eight snowplow names receiving the most votes will be declared the winners;
• The eight winners will be announced on Dec. 9;
• Each winner will receive a $100 cash gift card; and
• To enter the contest, visit www.ohioturnpike.org.