Highway Department, Commissioners, & Council Review Snow Fighting Fleet
(NOBLESVILLE, DECEMBER 17, 2020)
“Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best” is the Hamilton County Highway Department’s annual mantra. Planning for winter operations begins in the spring of each year. Hamilton County coordinates roadway salt procurement for the county as well as all the municipalities within the county. This special salt, distinguished by its green color, is treated to enhance its colder weather melting capability.
“The County Highway Department will use approximately 6,000 tons of salt per winter to treat nearly 1,200 miles of roadway and bridges in the unincorporated areas of the county,” says Highway Director Brad Davis. “All trucks also maintain a capability to dispense liquid de-icing chemicals to assist with combatting snow and ice in much colder temperatures when salt is less effective.”
At approximately $93.00 per ton, the County does all it can to minimize the amount of salt required. Its fleet of snow trucks has electronic ground speed controls calibrated to maintain a predetermined salt application rate regardless of the trucks’ speed. Hamilton County also uses salt brine as part of an anti-icing program to help keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement, help prevent frost on bridges, and allow for a much easier post storm cleanup.
“The Highway Department should also be commended for the phenomenal job it does in inspecting and maintaining its snow-fighting fleet,” says County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt. “That fleet includes 14 snow trucks, two V-plows, pickup trucks, brine making equipment, and liquid storage tank pumps. Good maintenance not only extends the life of the equipment, but it ensures nothing breaks down during a snow event.”
The Highway Department is also prepared to maintain a 24-hour operation if necessary. County Councilman Steve Schwartz says additional CDL and non CDL certified drivers are hired annually to supplement the normal highway staff. “They may be called upon to drive the large snow trucks when split shifting is required or to take out one of the pickup trucks equipped with snowplows. When things get real tight, Commissioner Heirbrandt and I have been known to lend a hand as well.”
“Snow routes have been reviewed, equipment has been checked, and materials have been stockpiled” Davis add. “Now let’s hope for a mild winter, but rest well knowing we’re prepared for 'the worst.' ”