Aurora in good shape with road salt, service director says

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published:

Aurora -- With a savage winter continuing to harass Northeast Ohio and some government entities having trouble maintaining an adequate salt supply, the city has more than enough road salt, Service Director John Trew reported last week.

"We try to keep 500 tons in storage to cover any two-day storm event," Trew said Feb. 13, adding that 400 tons were on order, with shipping expected Feb. 14, and 250 more tons available in the city's salt dome.

"We have storage space for 1,000 tons of salt, and as our supply is used we order more as required throughout the winter," he said, talking about how he tries to be proactive to keep enough salt on hand.

Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin praised the city's snow plowers Feb. 13 in her State of the City address, saying, "In the midst of the worst winter we have seen in decades, our service department is on the road morning, noon and night -- including weekends. I just had a compliment from a resident [Feb. 13] about the snow plowing."

Trew agreed, saying, "Our service department personnel have been working many hours and sacrificing family time to keep our streets safe for commerce and daily activities for our residents."

The city had ordered and had been invoiced as of Feb. 12 for 3,476 tons of salt at a price of $135,564 in the calendar year 2014, he said, adding that salt costs about $39 a ton.

"We have expended approximately 54 percent of the salt budget available," he said, adding the city uses salt only on the roadways -- "no additives or mixtures of brine are used."

Finance Director Bob Paul said the service department's 2014 overtime budget is $51,000, and about $28,325 had been spent through January.

Trew reminded motorists that the city must clear the main roads first before the side streets are done.

"The snow routes are divided up into six quadrants," Trew explained. "Each driver will first plow the main roads and state routes and then progress to secondary roads, and finally the side streets are completed in a timely manner."

"We generally will plow only when the snow is coming down at a rate of more than an inch an hour, salting mainly intersections and hills until the storm subsides, then we will clear the entire street to not waste any salt," he explained.

"The melting of ice and snow with salt is significantly reduced at temperatures between 20 and 18 degrees Fahrenheit. There are other chemicals such as calcium chloride, but that is more harmful to the environment, corrosive to the automobiles and more expensive."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

Facebook: facebook.com/mike.lesko.378

Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

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