County Highway Department prepares for winter

Allen County Board of Commissioners Seal

Press release from the Allen County Highway Department:

County Highway Department Prepares for Winter Equipment, manpower ready to clear highways

(November 5, 2010) – Winter may still be a month away according to the calendar, but the Allen County Highway Department is already making its plans for the upcoming season.

The employees spent the last week of October and the first week of November preparing for any snow or ice that may settle on over 3,000 lane miles of county highways this winter.

“Preseason preparation is a critical part of the snow and ice activities,” said Bill Hartman, County Highway Director. “The two-week span gives us ample time to prepare trucks and check all equipment such as spreaders and plows.”

The Highway Department uses several types of vehicles for snow and ice control – five graders, 19 tandem axle dump trucks, 16 single axle dump trucks, and four one-ton small dump trucks.

Allen County is divided into North and South Maintenance Districts with 12 zones in each district. Each zone will have at least one truck, and some will have two or more trucks. Graders are assigned to gravel roads, areas with large drifts of snow, and clearing berms of snow buildups.

The anti-icing materials used are sand, rock, salt, calcium chloride and stone chips. A sand-salt mixture will be used on most roads. Calcium chloride mixed with sand and salt will be used on roads that need to be cleaned to bare pavement. Stone chips will be used on gravel roads when they become slippery.

On higher traffic count highways, liquid calcium chloride will be applied along with a salt-sand mixture. 23 trucks are outfitted with systems that dispense the liquid onto the salt and sand. The calcium chloride solution speeds the chemical reaction of the salt, causing it to melt the snow and ice much quicker.

“Snow removal will begin when the roadways are determined to be too slippery or a significant amount of accumulation is covering the roadways,” Hartman said. “The Allen County Sheriff’s Department will also contact the Highway Department when the roads are in need of clearing.”

In December of 2007, the Allen County Commissioners adopted the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s Winter Weather Event Uniform Declaration Policy. It consists of four different levels:

  • Red – Level 1 – Declared Emergency. A State of Emergency has been declared by the County Commissioners. Travel may be restricted to emergency personnel ONLY!  Further restrictions may be included in the declaration.
  • Orange – Level 2 – Warning. Conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. Only essential travel is recommended (i.e. to and from work, emergency situations, etc.).  Emergency action plans have been or should be implemented by businesses, schools, government agencies and other organizations.
  • Yellow – Level 3 – Watch. Routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation; citizens should use caution or avoid these areas.  Schools and businesses may begin to implement their emergency action plans.
  • White – Level 4 – Caution. A condition may develop that limits or hinders travel or activities in isolated areas. No travel restrictions have been reported, but citizens should be alert to changing conditions.

When a decision is made that conditions warrant issuing one of the four levels, public notification will be made through Allen County’s Nixle Community Information Service as well as the local media.

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