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West Chester road crews ready for winter response
When winter temperatures go low, the West Chester Road Division kicks snow response teams into high gear.
West Chester replenishes its road treatment supplies ahead of each season according to the needs of the community. The road division staff, part of the Community Services Department, is responsible for keeping 222 miles of Township roadway safe.
For the 2017-18 snow season, the Township has contracted with Cargill, Inc. for road salt at a price of $58.73 per ton – the lowest per ton rate since 2009. An additional $11,040 was budgeted for the purchase of liquid calcium chloride from Univar U.S.A., Inc. Liquid calcium chloride is applied to salt when temperatures drop below 20 degrees.
“Fortunately we’ve had some very light winters the past few years and our salt domes are at capacity,” Roads & Maintenance Superintendent Jim Rigsby said. The Township’s two salt domes are able to store about 6,000 tons of salt, which is loaded as-needed into approximately 20 heavy dump trucks fitted with spreaders and plows.
“A third tool used by our snow response drivers is a liquid brine solution. The brine is pumped into special tanks on the trucks and sprayed on roads ahead of predicted storms,” Rigby said. “When the weather conditions are right, the brine will help melt early snowfall as it hits the pavement, making roads safer while crews are mobilized for snow removal.”
Drivers are available for call-out 24/7 from about November to April and are assigned to one of 18 plow routes. Salting one route takes approximately three to four hours, while plowing one route takes approximately six to seven hours.
“All of our drivers have driven and inspected their routes in preparation for winter. We deploy one truck per route and each route is between 12 to 14 miles long. On average, we expect drivers will respond to 15 to 20 snow events per season,” said Rigsby. In the 2016-17 season, crews made only six runs.
Snow removal in West Chester is a job shared by three different agencies: the Ohio Department of Transportation, Butler County and the Township. Plowing is prioritized based on the classification of roads beginning with main roads first, then collector streets and finally residential cul-de-sacs.
During heavy snow events, the Township can utilize subcontractors if needed to clear cul-de-sacs that can become time consuming and challenging for our large dump trucks to navigate. “The biggest thing residents can do to help our drivers clear streets more efficiently is to move parked cars off residential streets during a snow event,” Rigsby said.
Residents with concerns regarding roads and road conditions can contact Community Services by phone at (513) 777-8765 during regular hours of operation. Requests can also be submitted online by using the “Service Requests” feature at www.westchesteroh.org/residents/service-request.
To learn more about snow removal and what residents can do to help, watch the video below or visit the West Chester Snow Response web page.