After a late October day where we’ve seen highs in the mid 70’s, it’s likely the last thing on people’s minds is cold temperatures and snowfall. But for the City of Erie Streets Department, it’s something they have to consider.
“At any point the weather can change. Our salt spreaders stay on all year, so if anything were to happen, it takes only 6 minutes to put a plow on,” said Jeff Gibbens, the bureau chief of the Erie Streets Department.
The city just wrapped up its paving season. They’re looking at leaf collection as we speak before even considering outfitting their trucks with plows.
The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a colder than average winter this year with above average snowfall, much different than the warmer winter of last year.
And after quite a mild winter in 2022, the city streets department did save a lot of money but continued to receive salt all throughout the summer.
At the end of last winter, the city still had 1,000 tons of salt that needed to be delivered per the terms of their contract, and after now receiving this year’s order, they’re nearing max capacity in their dome.
Gibbens said they have at least 8,000 tons of salt on standby.
“We saved money obviously on the roads just because they didn’t take as much of a wear and tear from salting and the freezing and thawing of winter,” said Gibbens. “So, the cracking of the roads didn’t happen, we didn’t get nearly as many what we call blowouts in the road where the frost pushes up and pushes the clay through the roads, we didn’t get a lot of those this year and that saved quite a bit.”
Gibbens adds it’s important to pre-plan with his crew. So that when winter weather strikes, they’re ready.
“When a snow event happens, what we do is we go into our salting where we have the city broken up into seven sections. We’ll get seven salt spreaders out and as the weather progresses, we’ll go into plowing main runs, plowing sections, plowing the inner city during the day, it all depends on the snow event and how we attack it,” Gibbens added.
Gibbens asks people to follow odd even parking rules once the snow begins to stick. It’s something they’ve had difficulties within the past, as not following it prevents them from doing their job to keep our roads safe.