Bad weather takes a toll on county resources

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Keith praises efforts of crews to keep roads clear

By Molly Haines

Since the beginning of the year the Owen County Road Department has logged over 300 hours of overtime battling the snow and ice that has been present for much of that time.
Owen County Judge-executive Carolyn Keith said the county road crews have put in many long hours to keep roads passable.
“I think we’ve done an excellent job,” Keith said. “We were able to have school (Feb. 10) and I think that proves it, because there were many counties around us that didn’t have school.”
Since Jan. 1, Keith said the county has spent a total of $14,700.02 on salt, and just received a new supply Tuesday.
The road crew was busy Tuesday working on a solution that uses beet juice, salt and cinders to melt snow and ice.
The county has spent $4,035.15 on cinders since Jan. 1.
Keith said wear and tear to county vehicles is another factor when it comes to the weather conditions of the last month.
“We have an in-house mechanic, but (the weather) requires a lot more work,” Keith said. “We did have one truck down for a short while, but that was it. It stresses the trucks though. It’s difficult on the equipment and adds to the burden of the maintenance.”
As of press time Tuesday, the forecast was calling for more snow Feb. 14 and 15, and with more winter weather likely Keith said she hopes citizens will be cautious on the roads.
“Its been extremely slick out there,” Keith said. “If a citizen meets a truck on the road, if the citizen could back up or pull over  – if one of those trucks gets off in the ditch with a load of salt, it’s going to be stuck there.”
Keith said there had been a few hang-ups for the road crew but no accidents.
“I hope that people in the county can realize the hard work (the road crew) puts in,” Keith said. “Those guys work long hours.”
The weather has caused Owen County students to miss 18 days of school.
The Owen County Board of Education is expected to take action on an amended school calendar Feb. 17.