Law enforcement, road crews gear up for winter weather

By Jennifer Peryam -

LIMA — Winter weather has arrived, and law enforcement wants to make sure drivers are safe. Local highway departments also are gearing up for the winter season to make sure they have the supplies to keep roads safe.

Allen County Engineer Brion Rhodes said the county has ordered 4,200 tons of salt for the county, municipalities and townships for this winter and typically use 3,500 tons of salt each year.

“We use a common mixture of salt and grit. The grit is a No. 9 stone that provides traction, and the salt melts the snow or ice,” Rhodes said.

There are 352 miles of roads in the county that the Allen County Engineer’s Office maintains. The county spends on average of $360,000 a year to remove snow and ice.

“We divide the county up into different routes and the drivers go out and check the roads and apply salt where it is needed. Bridges and intersections will be addressed depending on the weather and the type of weather event we are having,” Rhodes said.

The agency has 17 plow trucks it uses to make sure roads are safe, along with 32 employees who are charged with cleaning the roads.

“Our responsibility is to maintain safe roads for the travelling public,” according to Rhodes.

Andy Schroeder, Putnam County highway garage superintendent, said the village has ordered 1,000 tons of salt for roads. The county has 330 miles that it is in charge of, while townships and villages plow their own snow.

“We split those miles up into 12 truck routes, so we have those trucks go out during a snow or icy event. If it’s really bad, we have three extra trucks and drivers who are available and can go out,” Schroeder said.

Each driver has a route and they clear the more well-travelled roads first.

Law enforcement officials are also providing tips to help ensure drivers stay safe this winter season.

Lima Police Ptl. Nathan Fried said roads can be slippery and people need to drive slower than usual.

“Don’t be on your phone when driving, and be cautious of other drivers. Make sure there is enough distance between cars, and if you slide, have both hands on the wheel,” Fried said.

Taking time while driving in less than ideal conditions is advice Fried provided. When coming upon a yellow light, it is better to slow down instead of speeding through the light, he added.

Putnam County Sheriff Brian Siefker noted this week was the first winter weather of the year.

“We ask people to be careful and allow extra space and slow down before a stop sign,” Siefker said.

Clearing windshields of ice and snow is important, as well as making sure there are quality tires on vehicles.

By Jennifer Peryam

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

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