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Local News

February 13, 2014

Snow strains local salt supplies

To prepare for the predicted nor’easter, New York state had 1,789 plows, 359 loaders and 4,185 operators stationed and ready to go Wednesday night, along with 291,000 tons of salt, according to a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. Local officials said they, too, were busy preparing for this winter’s latest storm.

Normally at this point in the winter season, only half of Delaware County’s salt provision has been used, Delaware County Department of Public Works officials said Wednesday. But because of this year’s slew of snow storms, more than 80 percent of that supply is gone.

Rob Conklin, general highway supervisor for the southern section of Delaware County’s roadways, said 11,000 tons of salt has been used throughout the county so far this year. That’s worth roughly half a million dollars, Conklin said.

Conklin said the county has been trying to make the salt last longer by being more frugal with it.

“We’ve found that if we just plow and hold off on salting the roads until the storm is over, we use less salt because that way we’re not salting and then plowing the salt right off the road again,” Conklin said.

Conklin said his crew of 30 men use 15 county plow trucks, with two men per truck for safety reasons. He said plowing crews are broken up into seven patrols and officials prioritize which roads are plowed first in these zones depending on each road’s traffic flow. County Routes 21 and 26, which have heavy traffic, are usually two of the first roads to be plowed, Conklin said.

“But the No. 1 priority is plowing the school bus routes,” Conklin said.

Drivers of plow trucks usually wait until there is at least one inch of snow on the road, Conklin said, and normally plow from around 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., depending on the severity of the storm.

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