OTTAWA — The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cold, snowy winter this year. Thankfully, the Ohio Department of Transportation always thinks ahead, as demonstrated by its yearly winter equipment inspection, held Thursday in Ottawa.
“We prepare for the worst every year, so when the snow starts flying, we’re ready to go,” Rod Nuveman, highway management administrator for District 1, said.
Ottawa’s 150-point inspection was one of eight to be held throughout ODOT’s District 1 between Thursday and Nov. 6, each intended to fine-tune the department’s snow removal equipment.
“Basically, we’re making sure that the fleet’s ready to go,” Nuveman said. “[The mechanical inspection] covers things like fluid levels, screws, hoses or fittings that might have leaks. It’s pretty extensive.”
With the wear and tear these machines can experience, especially after the harsh winter last year, it is imperative to keep each truck in working order.
“When you put your spinner gates on for spreading salt, after they sit from the winter, sometimes you hook them up and a motor might be tied up,” Tim Maag, ODOT Transportation Manager for Putnam County, said. “So we want to find those things ahead of time.”
In addition to checking the mechanics of the vehicles, inspectors also ensure that all proper safety equipment are in place in each plow.
“We’re looking for fire extinguishers, safety kits and safety vests,” Nuveman said.
Taking the time to ensure the trucks are ready to go now is part of the department’s mission to ensure open roads for Ohio drivers, according to ODOT director Jerry Wray.
“We work day and night to keep Ohio’s roads open and passable so businesses, schools and healthcare providers can operate uninterrupted,” he said in a statement. “The most effective way to accomplish this is to have equipment in good working order, salt in the barns and operators and mechanics who are well trained.”
Additional inspections are scheduled for Nov. 6 in Allen, Hardin and Hancock counties.