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Ligonier Valley road crews confident about storm coverage

| Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 3:06 p.m.

Despite the onslaught of winter storms, Ligonier area townships and boroughs are confident their road crews will make it through the season with no issues about getting the needed supplies.

In Ligonier Township, roadmaster and Supervisor Tim Komar said crews have been treating its 100 miles of roads with a mixture of salt and anti-skid gravel, using approximately 588 tons this season out of the 800 tons the township budgets for each year. The township is responsible for two state roads: Owl Hollow Road and a portion of Springer Road.

“We've been on a low-salt diet since early January because I suspected we might get a long winter,” Kumar said.

The township orders it supplies from COSTARS, the state's cooperative purchasing program administered by the Department of General Services and used by many municipalities.

“What I try to do is as soon as we start to use any salt, I start ordering,” Komar said. “That way we always have some in transit.”

Ligonier Borough has a contract with COSTARS, according to Paul Fry, director of public works. He said the program allows municipalities up to 140 percent of its estimated amount of salt, and he thinks the borough will survive the winter with adequate supplies. Crews used the budgeted 200 tons, so Fry ordered more and has about 60 tons on stock.

Fry said workers hardly used any salt in last week's icy storm.

“I was worried because it snowed around 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m., and then it turn to sleet and freezing rain,” he said. “Having that cushion of snow made it easy to remove.”

Bolivar Borough takes care of 3.5 miles of road, using mostly anti-skid gravel and some salt from COSTARS, according to borough officials. They have plenty of salt for the season and are not concerned about depleting supplies. They used about 8 tons of salt and 48 tons of anti-skid this year.

Laurel Mountain Borough's roads are treated by Berkey Excavating Inc., and there have been no problems, according to secretary-treasurer Taryn Ankney. The borough has just under 2 miles of road.

Fairfield Township has 55 miles to treat, using mostly anti-skid gravel, Chairman Vaughn Tantlinger said. They order supplies from Homer R. Sleek Trucking, and Tantlinger does not have any concerns about supplies, even though the township has used more than its typical amount. They have used approximately 700 tons of its mixture, he said, but obtaining another shipment only takes about a day.

Seward Borough's 12 miles of road should also be in good shape, according to vice president Dave Croyle. He said they use a mix of salt and anti-skid from Homer R. Sleek Trucking.

The borough purchased 8 tons of salt and 30 tons of anti-skid this year, but they purchased an additional 40 tons of anti-skid around the end of December, he said. That supply will likely be used up, so they will order 5 more tons of salt and 20 tons of anti-skid this week.

St. Clair Township's mixture of sand, salt and cinder has served its 24 miles of roads well this season, according to Supervisor Dennis Rudnik. The township just recently ordered more cinders. “We're in pretty good shape,” he said. “We should have enough to make it through.”

In Cook Township, Supervisor Rich Umbaugh foresees no problems regarding supplies for 37 miles of roadways.

“We only really use salt when they call for freezing rain,” he said. “We use anywhere from 20 to 60 tons a year, depending on the winter. We just normally use ash and anti-skid.” He said the township uses around 400 tons of the mixture per year, adding a little bit of salt.

“We'll probably get more in, but we shouldn't have a problem with it,” he said.

A representative from New Florence Borough could not be reached in time for publication.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or