Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews statewide were commended at the monthly Oklahoma Transportation Commission meeting Monday for their efforts in tackling the blizzard-like conditions from last week’s storm. This winter storm was extremely unusual for Oklahoma with much of the panhandle and northwest Oklahoma highways shut down due to unsafe road and driving conditions. This storm was reported as 5th highest snowfall event in state history. Crews even worked with rescue teams when possible, assisting in 137 motorist rescues.
On Monday, their efforts were recognized by the commissioners. Two crew members representing each division were commended for their teams’ hard work and dedication efforts during the storm. Photos of the storm were also on display.
During the storm, low visibility due to four to five foot snow drifts and high-winds made it difficult for crews to work through the constantly changing conditions. Anticipating the harsh weather conditions ODOT mobilized crews from other parts of the state less impacted by the storm the night before to help those most affected. Roughly 2,500 miles of highway including 30 counties were affected by the storm. More than 600 personnel worked on the storm using 300 pieces of heavy equipment which allowed crews to better fight the storm. They continued in 12 hour shifts until the roads were cleared.
Transportation crews worked more than a combined 20,400 hours using 5,100 tons of material to prepare for the extreme weather, costing ODOT an estimated $1.6 million – for the materials used in these operations as well as other costs, like paying staff to work around the clock to clear the roads.
Snowfall ranged from five to 22 inches with some areas seeing drifts even submerging stop signs. ODOT crews worked around the clock to clear roadways for drivers and within 18 hours all primary routes were open. Within 36 hours all highways were open and passable.
While this was one of the more significant storms in the past few years, ODOT is always prepared 24 hours, seven days a week. Adequate materials are still available should another storm develop. To prepare for this winter weather, crews mobilized as the precipitation approached and began salting, sanding and clearing efforts as visibility allowed.
The storm began early Monday morning, February 25 and subsided overnight Tuesday, February 26.
On Monday, Oklahoma Department of Transportation crew members represented their division as they were commended at the monthly Oklahoma Transportation Commission meeting for their teams’ hard work and dedication during last week’s blizzard-like storm in northwest Oklahoma.
Anticipating the harsh weather conditions, ODOT mobilized crews from other parts of the state less impacted by the storm to help those most affected. Those representing their division were, Casey Shell, ODOT Director of Operations; Gary Lively, ODOT Division One; Bert Wheeler, ODOT Division Eight; Steve Gussert, ODOT Division One; Bennie Moore, ODOT Division Six; Ray Garner, ODOT Division Six; Mike Loudermilk, ODOT Division Eight; Mark Roberts, ODOT Division Six; Ron Bartoli, ODOT Division Seven; Hilario “Larry” Lira, ODOT Division Five; Sam Reynolds, ODOT Division Seven; Jerry “Jr.” Laird, ODOT Division Five; Daniel Burns, ODOT Division Three; Tracy Estep, ODOT Division Three; Tony Dunlap, ODOT Division Two; Ashley Hawkins, ODOT Division Two; Joel Counts, ODOT Division Four; Brandt Bolay, ODOT Division Four.