Seventeen times this winter, Grand Island Street Division crews completed the full round of salting city streets.
The first time was way back on Nov. 8.
“So we’ve been kind of in winter mode for lots and lots of months,” said Street Superintendent Shannon Callahan.
On a full round, crews salt the main arterials, major intersections and intersections along the snow emergency route.
There were also a few times when crews salted some spots and stopped because the streets were going to be plowed. Plans changed because the snow started coming down harder.
In the winter, the salt crew is called out every time the roads are slick, whether it be from snow, rain, sleet or fog.
When sleeting, foggy conditions arrive in late October or early November “and we’re still going out in March, that’s a really long winter for us,” Callahan said.
Last week, Callahan was a little concerned about the city’s salt supply, because forecasters were talking about a wintry mix hitting this past weekend.
“But luckily this weekend we had some good weather,” she said. That nice weather caused a lot of melting.
Grand Island wasn’t the only place looking at its salt supply. Throughout the state and region, many governmental bodies are worried about salt, she said.
When temperatures are greater than 20, Grand Island crews use straight salt in deicing roads.
If temperatures drop further, the city might add a liquid de-icer. “This year we’re using a product called Torch,” Callahan said.
If it gets even colder, crews use a product called Ice Slicer, which is mixed 50-50 with salt. With products such as those, the freezing point is lower than straight salt, she said.
A year ago at this time, city workers were out pouring concrete.
“So I think we’re all ready to move on from this winter mode and do other things,” she said.
Actually, they were able to move on Monday and today, filling in potholes. That work was done in anticipation that it could rain later this week.
For average citizens, getting through this winter has been a battle.
Ace Hardware and Garden Center Manager Dave Jaixen said Monday the store has run out of ice melt, shovels and snow blowers this winter.
“I just got a pallet of 20-pound ice melt in today,” he said. That’s the only size you can buy, he said.
He has a couple different sizes of shovels. “But I do not have any snow blowers at the present time,” he said. The store has been out for about a week.