As the county prepares for potential winter weather this weekend, Fayette County Engineer Steve Luebbe assured the community Thursday that salt levels are high and planning is cost-effective.
According to Luebbe, salt levels for the county are overfull thanks to the mild weather from last winter. On top of filling both bins the county has to store salt, the surplus from last year means the community should have no problem keeping the roads salted in the case of bad snow and ice.
“Salt should not be a problem all winter long,” Luebbe said. “As for being ready, we will have the trucks ready by the end of the day Friday in case we do have some bad weather Saturday and we have to bring guys in.”
Luebbe said the weather is expected to be colder overnight Friday, but day time temperatures should be fairly warm with the sun shining. He said that the early and late season snows are not usually the problem when it comes to keeping the roads clear.
“Early in the season and late in the season are a little bit easier to handle,” Luebbe said. “For us the worst are those January and February snows where it stays cold for three weeks. You end up fighting the same snow and ice for weeks at a time.”
With one “pot” of money, as Luebbe described, for projects, equipment and other necessities, all of his decisions need to be considered carefully. He said he tries to be as cost-effective in all of his decisions so that there is money remaining for more county projects.
“We have one pot of money and everything comes out of it,” Luebbe said. “Whether that be paving dollars, buying equipment dollars, keeping the lights on dollars or even salt dollars, it all comes out of one pot. If we are overspending somewhere that is money we cannot use elsewhere.”
The Columbus Ohio Department of Transportation tweeted two photos Thursday morning with a caption of “Brrrrrrr, it’s a cold one! ODOT Fayette County crews are preparing for the first winter blast expected this weekend. Loading trucks with salt and brine, which is a mixture of salt and water.”
“This is a good thing since they are set up to do this pre-treating, but we are not,” Luebbe said. “If you get the brine down first then you don’t get that bonding with the pavement. It can help, and if the brine is on the road all the way up to your first snow, it can be effective. I am sure they are prepared for whatever may come this weekend.”
According to weather.com, Fayette County residents should prepare for some snow showers early in the morning Saturday, becoming scattered later on. The high temperature for Friday and Saturday is expected to be around 33 degrees, with lows in the upper teens and low 20s. Winds over the weekend are expected to remain around 12 to 16 miles per hour.
Stay with the Record-Herald all season long for continued winter weather coverage.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy