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Fay-West communities ready for a snowy 2013

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Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

According to weather forecasters, it's going to be a cold and snowy 2013.

While that may mean area road crews will be spending a lot of time in clearing local streets, there's one thing they are not concerned about — lack of road salt.

“We're good to go,” said Vern Ohler, Connelleville Street Department manager. “We have a lot of salt left over (from last winter). We're still reaping the benefits of last year.”

Last year, winter was mild in the Fay-West. That means municipalities were fortunate enough to store away some salt. The city uses between 600 and 650 tons of road every winter.

And right now, the salt shed is pretty full, Ohler said.

Last week, road crews were out salting streets in the city upon the major ice/snow storm.

“It was icy, but it was still so warm that it was moveable,” Ohler said. “We didn't have to use much more then we do for a regular snowfall.”

In East Huntingdon Township, supervisors take care of 70 miles of road.

“We're in good shape here,” East Huntingdon Township Supervisor Joel Suter said. “We had salt left over.”

Suter said East Huntingdon, like most areas in the Fay-West, has a surplus of salt, thanks to last year's extra mild winter.

Mt. Pleasant Township also has salt left over from last year, said Supervisor Frank Puskar. Puskar estimated the township had 60 to 80 tons of salt not used in 2011-12.

Puskar said that last week's ice storm is the type that is tough to handle. Work crews had to go out twice to clear some areas.

“With ice it can be bad,” Puskar said. “We go out and salt it then wait until it loosens up then we can hit it with the plows and break it up.”

Puskar said the township, on a average, goes through about 600 tons of salt every winter season, a time that traditionally runs from November through April.

In Mt. Pleasant, there is also a surplus of salt.

“We're right on track,” said Mt. Pleasant Borough Manager Jeff Landy. “We're in fine shape.”

Mt. Pleasant, like many area municipalities, mixes salt with anti-skid, before applying to roadways.

Most areas use a 50/50 mixture, but sometimes the weather calls for an adjustment to the blend.

“It all depends on the weather,” Mt. Pleasant Street Department Director Mario Fontanazza said. Fontanazza said the borough street department usually mixes the salt and anti-skid to a 60/40 blend.

“If there is more ice, then we use more salt,” he said.

Donegal Township road crews clear 55 miles of roads — 40 of which are mountain roads.

“We still have about 25 percent of our salt from last year,” Supervisor Tom Stull said. The township just ordered about 50 tons, which will be delivered this week.

Stull said last week when the ice/snow storm hit the Fay-West, supervisors hit the roads early.

“We did good,” Stull said. “We pretreated the roads so we were prepared.”

Dunbar Township Supervisor Ron Keller said the township has about 150 tons of salt on hand. The township is ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way, Keller said.

Keller said the township also uses a mixture of anti-skid and salt.

“We're in good shape for the winter,” Keller said. “Bring it on.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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