Straight salt might be used to clear county roads of snow

Tuesday, November 16, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:05 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

Boone County Public Works might use straight salt to clear snow on heavily traveled county roads this winter, director David Mink said Monday at a meeting with the Boone County Commission.

In years past, the county has used a mixture of limestone chips and salt to melt snow on roads. Mink said that strategy resulted in a lot of rock on the roads, but not much salt.

The preliminary new plan, he said, is for the county to place straight salt on paved roads first, and return on the second and third application with the limestone mixture.

“We’re just trying to focus our attention on the heavily traveled asphalt-paved roads that we’ve got around the county,” Mink said.

The county’s budget for snow-removal materials is $155,000. Although he doesn’t know how much more the county would have to spend to use straight salt, Mink said he believes the increase would be “minuscule.”

“It’s very minor compared to the overall cost of storms,” Mink said. “If you can put the (salt) down, that allows us to have savings in labor, fuel, equipment and wear and tear. We can provide a better service from the beginning.”

The county contracts snow removal to outside companies through a public bidding.

Mink said the contractors bid on an hourly rate and officials from the Public Works Department structure the routes. Mink said the companies work to clear various subdivisions, which allows the county to focus its efforts on clearing main roads.

Boone County Commissioner Keith Schnarre said he likes the snow-route plan.

“I think they’re putting a lot of effort into it this year to see how we can keep improving our services,” he said.

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