City workers get a head start on snow removal | News

While the snow falls and the rest of the city sleeps, the Beckley Board of Public Works road crews are working in freezing conditions to make sure the city’s roads are as safe as possible.

Heavy-duty equipment foreman Howard Cox said day shifts began pre-treating some roads Thursday afternoon, hours before an expected snowfall accompanying the second winter New Year’s storm.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for southern West Virginia on Wednesday, forecasting up to 8 inches of snow and severe wind gusts between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

“This morning I asked them to check their trucks, refuel them, I just asked them to check everything, to make sure everything was working fine,” Cox reported. “We had them ready to go this afternoon.”

By the time the snow started falling in Beckley after 3 p.m., Cox’s team had been at work for hours.

“We’re already out,” Cox said around 4:30 p.m. Thursday. “We went to pretreat a bit this afternoon, before it started.

“They went out and made a lot of their hills, they just went ahead and salted and ashed them.

“Now they’re actually starting to plow it and bury it all. “

Public Works Council director Jerry Stump explained that there are two crews who take care of the city’s roads. Cox’s team works from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and a second group of workers arrive at 7 p.m. and take care of the city’s roads until 7 a.m.

“We’re stocked with over 500 tonnes of salt and ash, so we’re as ready as possible at this point,” Stump said Thursday afternoon.

Cox said there are more than 520 streets in Beckley, as well as parking lots that city crews are dealing with. During the winter months, the city streets are passable thanks to the efforts of the Public Works Commission.

There are 10 day and 11 night drivers. Each worker gets a list of 10 streets and is responsible for those roads, Cox said.

The 11th night driver opens the city’s parking lots, he added.

“They have a parking truck,” he explained. “We have several car parks in town that we take care of.

“We’ve always done the parking lots, but we would usually pull a truck off the street to get the parking lots before early in the morning, but now we have a truck that we have designated, just for the parking lots.”

The city has a caravan of different types of trucks, including a hatchback spreader that allows workers to dump salt and ash directly onto the road.

Calcium chloride is added to the salt mixture when temperatures drop below 25 degrees.

“You see, when it’s 30 degrees outside, one pound of salt will melt 46.3 pounds of ice,” National Public Radio reported. “And when it’s zero degrees outside, a pound of salt will only melt 3.7 pounds of ice.

“As it gets colder, road crews are adding mix aids to melt the ice faster.”

Beckley adds ash to rock salt to help melt ice on the roads. Mixing ash lowers costs and causes less damage to rivers and municipal drainage systems than using salt alone, according to various environmental studies.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), road salt is very effective in keeping roads safe, but can contaminate drinking water, kill or endanger wildlife, increase soil erosion. and damage private and public property.

A Kansas city is experimenting with using sugar beet juice to help melt snow, NPR reported.

Beet juice is less corrosive than salt and costs about the same as calcium chloride at $ 1.70 to $ 1.85 per gallon.

As city officials battle the impact of salt on the local ecosystem, city workers will use all available resources to keep roads clean from ice and snow this winter.

Cox said residents can help by getting their vehicles off the streets.

“A lot of people park on the street,” Cox said. “Some people don’t have an aisle.

“We understand that, but a lot of people have driveways and they always park on the street.”

He asked everyone who has a driveway to make sure they don’t park on the street during winter storms.

“It helps us tremendously if they can get their cars off the streets,” Cox said.

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