City officials executing plan to keep local roads safe

Local4 News at 5
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 8:12 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - With another winter storm passing through, it’s a reminder of the long winter ahead. City officials say they’re following the reports of local weather reports closely to help determine when they should go out and start street treatment.

For a storm system like on December 8th, they put salt on the roads before the storm, starting with intersections, high-traffic areas, and overpasses. They then move on to slick parts of local roads that need to be addressed. When it comes to finances, it’s early enough that everything is still on track.

“We have $40,000 in the budget for sand and salt,” said Hastings Director of Engineering, Lee Vrooman. “Our labor and equipment is already kind of rolled into our budget items. I don’t have a yearly annual cost of what we’ve spent.”

Vrooman says, there isn’t a cumulative cost for an annual total, but the budget is flexible depending on how many storms hit the city. In the event of a large snowstorm, it could take several days, even weeks to clean up.

“It goes back to the severity of the storm,” said Vrooman. “We may have a couple of people come in early before the storm to put material on intersections, especially the overpass. Then as normal working hours come around you know we have a full crew.”

They also think economically when it comes to how many trucks to deploy for street treatment. The size of the crew depends on the storm and the time of the day it will impact the city.

They would call some workers in early to pre-treat busy areas, and once it reaches normal business hours they send all ten trucks out for road treatment. City officials say they do the best work they can within budget.

“If we have several large snow events over the course of a winter, we probably would go over that budget; it’s all dependent,” said Vrooman. “If we’re over that budget we just have to take it out of other items we have in the budget.”

They also say residents should be aware of the order they go by when clearing the streets of ice.

“The overpasses, major streets, get hit first, intersections, some of the residential we may or may not hit at all; depending on the severity of the storm,” said Vrooman. “When we get the snow storms if we call a snow emergency, we have snow emergency routes.”

Vrooman says, in event of snowstorm or snow emergency routes become the priority, followed by major streets then residential.