by Dennis Dalman
The Sartell Public Works Department street crew has put down a veritable mountain of salt on city streets throughout the long, cold winter.
It was an all-time record amount of salt for the city – a stupendous 1,450 tons of the stuff so far. And, as shivering persons know all too well, winter’s not over.
Borders told the council at its Feb. 24 meeting the department just put in an order for 250 more tons of road salt. During most winters, he noted, the street workers spread about 600 tons, average, per year.
On the very coldest, sunless days, the salt is mixed with sand. That is because salt alone will not melt ice unless sunshine hits the salt to start the melting process. If sand is mixed with it, the sand will prevent vehicles from slip-sliding, and the sand tends to help the salt activate when there is no sun.
Borders said his crew has been extremely busy because of the frequent onslaught of snowfall and blowing snow for the past four months. Weekend work was required quite a few times to keep the roads open. Snow drifting into roads had to be dealt with many times, he noted, with Pinecone Road being especially troublesome. Due to drifting snow, all of the city’s three snow plows were required many times.
Overtime hours were necessary, especially during the month of January.
Sartell Administrator Mary Degiovanni told the council any costs in excess of the street budget would come out of the general fund.