Public Works crews preparing snow and ice control equipment
FREEHOLD, NJ – With the National Weather Service forecasting Monmouth County can expect 1 to 3 inches of snow, with less than a tenth of an inch of ice in the next 12 to 24 hours, the county’s Public Works crews are ready to respond and to ensure that the county roads are safe and drivable.
Crews from the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering applied liquid salt brine to the county’s roads yesterday during normal work hours in anticipation of the snow. The salt brine prevent the snow and ice from bonding to the road surface. The county has 1,000 lane miles of roads.
“In advance of any actual snowfall, we will apply magnesium chloride-treated rock salt as required,” said John W. Tobia, director of the county’s Department of Public Works & Engineering.
“County highway personnel set the standard and example throughout the state on snow and ice control operations, as exhibited during last year’s numerous snowstorms,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to Public Works and Engineering. “County roads were always drivable during those events. The county’s road crews do an excellent job keeping county roads safe.”
The county has more than 100 trucks and equipment outfitted with spreading and plowing capabilities.
“We will open up the snow operations room at least four hours prior to the expected arrival of the storm to monitor the storm’s progress and field calls from municipalities,” Tobia said. “This reduces the personnel needed at the county’s nine highway districts, because the snow room dispatches crews as needed, which reduces overtime costs.”
The county uses salt brine combined with magnesium chloride-treated rock salt. The salt brine and a pre-application of treated rock salt prevent the snow and ice from bonding to the roads, and the treated rock salt is environmentally friendly. It does not burn the grass or other roadside vegetation nor does it corrode the trucks or the steel bridge spans. It also is effective in lower temperatures.
“The key is to keep the ice and snow from bonding to the road surface,” Tobia said. “You may notice that the lanes will be slushy instead of iced over. That’s the first step before the plows come by and push it all aside.”
As a result, there have been far fewer telephone calls from local police departments about trouble spots, Tobia said. Typically, when police dispatchers call to report icy conditions – usually on bridges or curved roadways – the county dispatches additional trucks to perform some spot treatments.
This treated rock salt is much more efficient than the prior de-icing material, which was very corrosive to bridge structures, roadside vegetation, the roadway itself and trucks and equipment, Arnone said.
“We have found that magnesium chloride-treated rock salt is much more effective and, therefore, there is a savings in man hours and material,” Arnone said. “We use approximately 30 to 50 percent less material along with a reduction in spreading trips, depending on the snow event, for the same result. By reducing the number of trips, we are reducing fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions.”
The precipitation is forecast to change to all rain as the temperatures climb above freezing.