The City's road crews are primed and ready for the upcoming winter season - here's what to expect, and how you can help...
Each year, the city hosts a wonderful media event (and I've convinced them I'm 'media'!) where they not only showcase the snow removal equipment, but also set up a representative cul-de-sac / obstacle course for media members to try their hand at clearing snow, in this case orange barrels, into appropriate spots.
Our hosts, Superintendant John Woltja and Human Resources Manager Jill Bissinger, take great pride in not only the state-of-the-art equipment they utilize, but especially the crews that maintain and operate the trucks in keeping us all safe in our hazardous weather travels. As Scott Halasz, photographer for the Gazette Newspapers, was navigating a snow plow through the obstacle course, Superintendent Woltja noted that the plows literally become an extension of our drivers during snow events. With their tight turning radius's, automatic tire chains and multi-directional blades, the 19 plows the city operates are ideal for the varying road surfaces Beavercreek offers.
Here's what you need to know...
Road Salt - We're stocked!! The barn currently houses 2,000 tons of salt with another 4,000 tons soon to be delivered. This means that the city will again be salting ALL road and side street surfaces! A fourth provider entered the marketplace and we were able to secure all the salt we need for the coming season.
Brine - This salt water solution has paid great dividends to our community. First, in pre-treating the roads (the white stripes you see throughout the winter) the city can preempt treatment for light snowfalls and gets a head start on larger snow events. An additional benefit is during the spreading of salt. An innovative system that resembles a backpack on the tailgate of the plows holds 150+ gallons of brine that is sprayed onto the salt as it drops onto the spinner. The benefit is twofold. First, the brine initiates the chemical reaction of melting the salt prior to it even hitting the road surface. This reaction creates heat, which in turn melts the snow and ice. Second, the brined salt crystals don't bounce as much as dry salt, helping it to stay of the road surface and complete its task.
Beet Juice - Yes, the juice of the sugar beet root. When added to the brine solution, beet juice increases the effectiveness of the both the brine and the salt. When you see salt with a light purple hue to it, it's been treated with both brine and beet juice. Sodium chloride, road salt, is only effective to a surface temperature of 15° farenheit. In the past, municipalities would spread calcium chloride when temperatures would drop below 15°F as it was effective to -35°F. The problem is that calcium chloride is hard on the equipment and promotes rust. Adding beet juice to the process increases the effectiveness of sodium chloride to -26°F for pennies on the dollar, saving wear-and-tear on both the snow removal equipment as well as the road surface.
Here's what you didn't know...
Tire Chains - If a plow gets stuck or off the road, it's a big problem as getting assistance to it will be tough. Beavercreek's snow plows are equiped with automatic road chains, provide significantly improved road traction and minimized tire slippage as they do their job. It's not a per-tire system like you've seen on 18 wheelers in the past, it's a rotary device that, when activated, extends the an arm in front of the tires and spins chains under the drive wheels at a rate coordinated to the vehicle speed. This 'as needed' system eliminates the extensive damage that permanently affixed chains cause to road surfaces.
Snow Deflectors - One of the main nemeses of snow plow operators is the country mailboxes that are prevalent in our community. By the design of the blade on the snow plow - heavy, wet snow is ejected from the blade at neighborhood speed at approximately 4 feet high. Mailbox height. Upon learning of a modification in snow-heavy communities, city fabricator extraordinaire Marty Miller has outfitted several of our plows with a device designed to release the snow from the blade at a much lower trajectory, protecting the fragile upper portion of our mailboxes. As the effectiveness is validated, the customized units will be added to more plows.
There are several things you can do to help during snow events:
- Avoid parking on the street if possible
- If driving, give the plows plenty of space
- Don't pass a snow plow!
- Turn on outside lights and post lamps for overnight snows
- Don't plow, blow or throw snow back into the roadway
- Dig out hydrants for the Fire Department
- Exhibit patience!
- And most importantly, check on elderly neighbors
We survived last winter's salt deficiency quite well, a plan was put into place to best serve all our residents. This year will mark a return to the full-service salting that we're all accustomed to. The operators take a great deal of pride in their work and recognize that like a sports referee, when they do their job well - few people notice.
So we at BeavercreeksFinest.com are thanking them in advance for the long hours, often overnight, that they put in to keep us all safe and our schedules intact. Much to the chagrin of our BCSD students, Beavercreek has the FINEST plow operators in the region!
Previous pieces we've written about this topic: