ODOT shows off new tool

CALCUTTA, Ohio (WKBN) — The name SkyTrim doesn’t sound quite as ominous as the description: A 2-foot carbide-tipped saw attached to a 70-foot hydraulic boom that allows the Ohio Department of Transportation to cut the top of a tree from the ground.

It’s a new machine for ODOT in this area and the agency said it’s going to help keep the roads safer for motorists. The tool is a dream come true for ODOT, especially on a certain stretch of state Route 170 near Calcutta, which is a real problem spot.

It’s curvy, steep and right in the middle of the woods. It gets icy because the trees are so thick, the sun can’t get through to warm up the pavement.

“You have to be really careful because through the trees on the hill right there, it does freeze a little faster. So you just have to be careful and go slow,” said driver Dana Smith.

She was  relieved to hear about ODOT’s new plan to fix the problem: SkyTrim. The new piece of equipment is more than a cool tool. It allows road crews to do something they have never been able to do before: Trim the tree tops from the over the roadway with fewer people.

“Is is very important. This has been a terrible winter,” said ODOT Transportation Manager Brent Rose. “We wouldn’t be able to get the height we’re getting out of that machine. Just to trim what we normally trim, you’re looking at a couple crews with six to eight people per crew.”

SkyTrim only requires one crew of six people. The only drawback is it takes several weeks of road closures and detours to finish the job.

“People are going to be complaining, but what they have to remember is that the outlook will be a lot better,” Rose said.

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