Cottrel: Snow plows at work can be music to the ears


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Over the last few weeks I have been particularly appreciative of those who clean the snow and ice off our roads. Winter weather may shut down schools or events, but some urgent business matters or doctor’s appointments just cannot wait for better weather. It is good to be able to get to those important events and not delay.

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It wasn’t when I was in school, but now hearing the familiar scraping sound of a passing snow plow is music to my ears. It is reassuring that I can get the things done that are needed.

Generally we have noticed that the township roads seem to be the best maintained, better even than county, and state agencies that have more extensive snow and ice fighting equipment and supplies.

I imagine proximity has a lot to do with it, after all they are plowing in their own neighborhoods, and Bethel Township Trustee Dave Phares confirmed that idea.

“We just get out and get it done,” he said.

Although Phares is a Trustee, he assists the two full time and four part time workers in the snow and ice removal.

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The approximately 60 miles of Bethel Twp. roads quickly multiplies to 120 miles when one remembers that the roads have to be scraped going both ways. This is not all country roads. It also includes some residential areas outside of city limits. Plowing along streets lined with parked cars can be tedious. Dividing the work between the seven workers cuts the work down to a manageable amount that can be done as quickly as possible.

By the way, the township does not clean school lots. This is contracted out by the school district.

Bethel Twp. generally uses salt with a limited amount of grits or sand. As Phares explained, they do not do any pretreating because they can get to problem areas as soon as the weather event begins. This saves money in the long run, and avoids the loss of thousands of dollars of pretreatment chemicals that would wash away if rain is in the weather mix.

Phares said the relatively mild winters of the last few years have been easy on the township and they have been able to easily stay within their budget. However he explained that the township has arrangements, or reservations, for additional amounts of salt if the mild winter takes a big turn to the arctic side.

As we look at the 40th anniversary of the Blizzard of 78, I find that reassuring.

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Right now there are no big snow storms in our weather forecast but as we say in Ohio, wait a few minutes and the forecast will change.

When I asked Phares what township residents can do to make their work easier, he had a quick reply, “Stay off the roads until they are cleared.”

Residents need to get supplies before the snow and ice event so that they can stay out of the way. Roads clear of vehicles can be cleaned quicker. It won’t take long if everyone cooperates. According to Phares, it would also be very helpful if those living in rural residential areas put their cars in the driveways instead of parking them on the streets if that is possible.

Chances are that there will be some more snow in February or March, but it is nice to know that we have gotten through the first two wintry months smoothly.

Hang in there. Spring is closer every day, and the days are a bit longer now. We can do this.

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