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Ohio Turnpike crew members inspecting 100 snowplows that'll be on toll road this winter

On average, the Ohio Turnpike uses about 293,000 gallons of liquid chemical and 65-thousand tons of salt per year.

SWANTON, Ohio — WTOL 11's weather team of meteorologists are tracking temps into the 70s this weekend, but that's not stopping the Ohio Turnpike from getting prepped for the winter season. And we got a behind the scenes look at the snowplow inspection crews are doing now.

Last winter season, crews handled 55 snow storm events. Now, they're making sure the snowplows are in shape to do it again this winter. So much goes into making sure these 21-foot long snowplows are able to keep the turnpike clear of snow and safe for us drivers each winter. 

To put things into perspective, Ohio Turnpike crew members spent 32,000 hours on the toll last winter, keeping it free from snow and ice. More than 309,000 gallons of de-icing liquid and 56,000 tons of salt were used.

The superintendent of maintenance for the western division, Jeff Landel, explained this is the time of year when they bring the snowplows out for the season and complete the 136-point inspection. They're checking all engine parts, plowing equipment, tires, lights, as well as a test calibration of the salt and liquid de-icing systems.

"We find a lot of things wrong and I think it keeps our trucks moving in the middle of winter by doing it this way. It's a top priority here at the turnpike and we take a lot of pride in our trucks," said Landel. "A lot of these trucks are 2009s, so there's a lot of work that goes into keeping them the way they are."

Crew members will plow the turnpike once per hour and work about 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to keep it as safe as possible. Landel said the road will never close for snow emergencies.

He explained these drivers take a lot of pride into the work they do and it's definitely not an easy one. So, it's up to us drivers to do our part and give them plenty of room to work when we see them out there this winter.

"When they're out there plowing, they got about 21-feet of plow down on the road between their wing plow and front plows," Landel explained. "They're in the trucks watching traffic and deciding how much salt they need to put down or spreading liquid along with that salt to make it act a little faster and to get that melt down action that we're looking for. So, it's just a lot that goes into it."

The Ohio Turnpike's second annual Name-a-Snowplow contest begins October 24. The top eight names voted on by the public will each win $100. You'll have until November 20 to submit a snowplow name.

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