Lake County Engineer's Office releases snow plow/salt policy

Jan. 25—The Lake County Engineer's Office re-evaluates its snow policy and procedures every year to keep up with changing costs and road conditions.

According to Lake County Engineer Jim Gills, the office is responsible for over 304 lane miles of county roads and 110 lane miles along state Route 2 from the Cuyahoga County line to the bridge over the Grand River in Painesville and Painesville Township.

"During winter storm events, the priority remains Route 2, county roads, and then any township, village, or city roads we are also assisting with," Gills said, noting there are typically 10 snowplow trucks on the county road system and four trucks on Route 2.

"However, we adjust the number of trucks in any given area based on the storm conditions and where the trucks are most needed," he added. "Our crews use untreated salt to maintain the freeway and county highway system."

The policy and procedures on Route 2 for 2023 will remain consistent with past years, with salt used as the primary tool in deicing the freeway.

During each winter storm, the slower (right) lane and the ramps along Route 2 are addressed first. The remaining mainline lanes are plowed center to left as applicable until the storm eases or areas are reasonably cleared.

Additionally, the salting priority for the county highway system will be hills, bends and intersections, Gills noted, adding straightaways will be spot-treated in a manner to keep them passable.

"As a storm subsides, we will put the material down on the straights," and this will continue until the storm ends," he said. "At that time, any hard pack that has formed will be treated and cleared."

From 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., the county will put down minimal materials to keep highways passable.

"This is a time when traffic volumes are low," Gills said. "This nighttime salting policy applies only to the county highway system, not Route 2."

Moreover, supply and demand, in tandem with economics and environmental impacts, has forced the office to enact these policies and procedures, Gills added.

"Our goal with this is to continue to provide the citizens of Lake County with a safe driving environment and allow us to stretch our reserves for the entire winter season," he said. "It will require county drivers to cooperate during these events. Please exercise caution and be free of distractions while driving on our roadways during snow and ice conditions."

To date, Gills added, Northeast Ohio, has seen lighter snow, as national levels, in addition, have been relatively lower.

"As far as our supply, we're ahead of the game," he said. "And other than the two bad days we saw in November, which is typical for an earlier set of storms, we're looking good as we move into February and March. And during the Christmas season, where we anticipated heavier use, things weren't bad either, regarding snowfall — it was just too cold to use salt."