With many municipalities across the state scrambling to find enough salt to treat roadways, the City of Elgin is conserving its salt supply by mixing it with sand.
“As is true of many cities and villages in northern Illinois, our salt supplies are low too,” said John Loete, Elgin Public Works Director. “We’ve only used salt when conditions absolutely warrant it.”
The unusually heavy snowfall this winter season required many cities and villages to plow and salt streets and roads so often that salt supplies were exhausted quickly.
“The City normally uses about 6,500 tons of salt during an entire winter season,” said Loete. “Elgin has used about 13,000 tons of salt this season already and we’ve got a minimum of another six weeks left of winter.”
The City has ordered another 3,600 tons of salt but because supplies are so low, companies are not able to sell Elgin any more salt beyond its order. And no delivery date has been established.
“Because we must conserve our salt by mixing it with sand, there will be less bare pavement,” said Loete. “We won’t be pre-coating pavements with salt before plowing. We will first plow streets and then go back over them with the salt and sand mix. We will also use liquid calcium chloride to help melt the mix and extend the supply.”
With the Chicago area bracing for another 8 to 12 inches of snow tonight, City of Elgin crews are gearing up for another busy night.
“We’ll again have maximum staff working to clear streets,” said Loete. “We plow arterial roads and ensure they’re in good shape before we jump down side streets. We then plow cul de sacs.”
City of Elgin has established 17 snow removal routes each totaling 55 miles. More than 325 center lane miles are cleared with 50 public works employees. Additionally the City works with an independent contractor to clear 19 city parking lots with walkways cleared by an additional 20 City crew members.
For more information contact Elgin Public Works at (847) 697-3160.