FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County snow removal crews are continuing to assist the state with clearing snow from state highways in Monmouth County.

The county plowed portions of Route 18 and Route 35 Tuesday night, and today county snow removal efforts continued along State Highways 35, 36 and 71. County snowplows also cleared some access ramps to Routes 18, 35 and 9 this afternoon.

County roads have been cleared since 10 a.m. Monday and show blacktop.

“We have received complaints from residents saying they are having difficulty accessing county roads, so we are helping the state clear their roads,” said Freeholder John P. Curley, liaison to the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. “Our county snowplow operators have done a remarkable job on county roads, and they continue to assist the state today.”

County facilities were cleared of snow Monday morning, but because of concern for the safety of the public and county employees the decision was made to close county operations for the day. All county offices were reopened on Tuesday.

The county is also assisting every municipality that has asked for help.

The county plowed the entire length of Route 18, both northbound and southbound, last night from Wall Township to Route 537 in Colts Neck. County crews then plowed Route 35 in southern Monmouth from the intersection of Route 34 in Wall to Route 33 in Neptune.

Today, the county Department of Public Works and Engineering committed 10 loaders and 10 tandem and single-axle trucks fitted with snowplows to assist the state. County crews are plowing snow and spreading salt and sand along state highways and highway ramps.

Public Works and Engineering Director John W. Tobia went aloft in the state police helicopter with DOT officials to identify areas on state roads that needed some plowing. As a result, county crews today cleared ramps to Route 18 and ramps to Routes 35 and 36 around Monmouth Mall. They also plowed Route 71 from Avon to Route 36 in West Long Branch.

Meanwhile, with rain forecast for this weekend, county workers have also been busy clearing storm drains to help minimize the effects of flooding. Should flooding occur and assistance is needed, residents are urged to contact their local Office of Emergency Management.

“The county takes a proactive approach to developing plans and begins gearing up for winter storms long before they hit,” Tobia said. “We opened our snow room to monitor the storm’s progress on Saturday and began dispatching crews from the county’s nine highway districts Sunday morning.”

At that time crews began applying the liquid salt brine. Then, before the snow actually started falling, the crews began applying rock salt treated with magnesium chloride.

“The key for us is to keep the ice and snow from bonding to the road surface, and that’s the result of the salt brine and rock salt,” Tobia said. “Some lanes on county roads were slushy instead of iced over. That’s generally the first step before the plows come by and push it all aside.”

According to the National Weather Service, snow and windy conditions began in Monmouth County late Sunday morning and produced a higher than average snowfall overnight Sunday into Monday morning.

The county Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Manasquan OEM, along with rescue teams from the state police, evacuated about two dozen motorists who had become stranded on Route 18. A convoy of Army trucks Manasquan normally uses for tidal flooding was dispatched Sunday night and rescued 12 people. The same convoy was deployed Monday night and picked up another 11. At the time, Route 18 had not yet been plowed.

On Sunday and Monday nights, county snowplow operators also cleared roads assisting Jersey Central Power & Light Co. personnel who were responding to power outages.

Monmouth County concentrates its efforts on county roads first and then works to assist municipalities with their plowing needs. Through shared service agreements, county road crews helped clear roads in Howell, Wall, Neptune, Middletown and Upper Freehold townships. They also helped plow the National Guard Armory in Red Bank. Towns reimburse the county for any resources used.

A number of towns also purchase magnesium-treated salt from the county at a lower cost.

This is the third year the county has been using the 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.

The new rock salt is much more efficient than the old rock salt, which was very corrosive to bridge structures, roadside vegetation, the roadway itself and trucks and equipment, Tobia said.

“Magnesium chloride-treated rock salt is much more effective and, therefore, there is a savings in man hours and material,” Tobia said. “We have found we use approximately 30 to 50 percent less material and can reduce our spreading trips, depending on the snow event.”

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.