Townships coping with snow, drifting
LAKE AREA – Local township trustees and road crews have had their hands full with snow removal.
With about two feet of snow on the ground, continuing below freezing temperatures and more snow forecasted, rural roads are lined with snow banks.
“We’re in good shape,” said Randy Kemmerer, Walnut Township road supervisor and Liberty Township trustee. He said roads in both townships are under control as plows run almost nonstop. “We’ve been out night and day,” he said. Thanks to drifting snow, some of the roads are being plowed ten times a day and Fairfield Beach roads are regularly plowed.
“Liberty Township’s in pretty good shape, too,” said Kemmerer. He said Liberty Township crews are spreading cinders. “We haven’t had too many complaints,” said Kemmerer.
He added that townships aren’t responsible for damaged mailboxes if flying snow is the cause. On the other hand, if a plow backs into a mailbox or knocks it over with a snow blade, then the township is responsible to repair the damage. Kemmerer expects township roads in both townships to be plowed and salted or cindered well ahead of any fresh snowfall that may arrive over the weekend. “We’ll be ready for the next five inches,” he said.
“Wind’s the biggest thing today,” said Thorn Township Trustee Dale Factor Wednesday. “They fill in about as fast as we can plow them.” Blowing and drifting snow is the biggest issue for Thorn Township rural routes. He said all three trustees are taking shifts with the township road crews to keep the plows moving constantly. “(The trustees) don’t care what time we call them in,” said Factor. As far as any more snow that’s expected, “We’re always ready,” he said.
“It’s a disaster, but they’re doing a good job with it,” said Union Township Police Chief Paula Greene. She said as far as she knows all Union Township roads were open as of Wednesday. “The ones I’ve been on look good,” she said.
Things aren’t going quite as smoothly in Licking Township, said Trustee Dave Miller. He said the township’s biggest plow is broken down and waiting for an out-of-town parts shipment. Plus the township doesn’t have its usual access to cinders.
“Please be patient. We’ll get to every road,” said Miller. He said the main roads are top priority and township crews are making sure that all roads are passable for emergency vehicles. “Our criteria for safety is that hills, curves, intersections, and stop signs will always be plowed and salted first,” he said. At least one lane is open on every road.
Licking Township usually buys its road cinders from American Electric Power’s Conesville Power Plant in Coshocton County. AEP spokesperson Vikki Michalski said the cinders are a byproduct of coal burning. The plant upgraded emission scrubbers last summer and burned less coal due to the outages. “It’s a matter of supply and demand,” she said. “It goes really fast.” Simply put, the plant wasn’t burning as much coal last year, so there aren’t enough cinders to supply everyone who wants them. Michalski couldn’t predict what levels will be available for next year since it depends on the demand for electricity.
Licking Township was paying $1.50 per ton for the cinders, $0.50 per ton for loading and $9 per ton for trucking to Jacksontown. Earlier this week, the township purchased some sand mixed with brine from the Shelly Company for $11 per ton delivered. Trustees briefly discussed an alternative source for cinders at their meeting Tuesday night.
Miller said Ryan and Ridgely Tract roads have been the most difficult to maintain. On the upside, Miller said the township crews haven’t taken out any mailboxes and the goal as of Wednesday was to push back previously plowed snow another two feet to accommodate more snow expected for the weekend. Miller again asked Licking Township residents to be patient and please to keep their vehicles out of plows’ way. “We’ve all been working,” he said.