With the new year comes change, which also includes wintry weather as the coldest months are fast approaching. The state of Kentucky is very unpredictable from year to year where weather is concerned, however, if bad weather does decide to blow into Logan, both the city of Russellville and the county are prepared.
Both leaders have a stockpile of salt just waiting to use if needed. The county has 100 tons of salt and the City of Russellville has 48 tons.
“We have a contract to receive 125 additional tons if we need it,” said Russelville Mayor Mark Stratton, but it’s unlikely they will. According to Judge/Executive Logan Chick, in the county’s worst years they have never used over 70 tons of salt.
The City of Russellville keeps their salt in a quonset hut located behind the street department, whereas the county keeps its salt at the road department.
Stratton says the city will only begin to salt the streets if there is a prediction of 2-4 inches of snow. The county only begins if the snow is already here. Neither want to waste the salt by acting to quickly. Salt is easily washed away if the weather is wet.
Both the county and the City of Russellville have maps they go by when spreading salt. Both begin with areas that have been deemed most important such as streets or roads where there is a lot of traffic, main intersections, railroad crossings, hills or people requiring a great deal of medical help, etc. The focus is then turned on the other areas.
Equipment used for spreading the salt and grading the streets and roads is ready as well. Mayor Stratton says work has been done on some of the city’s salt trucks recently to get them ready in case bad weather hits.
“We are as ready as we can be,” said Stratton.
Neither the city nor the county use salt brine, which is a water/salt based solution used by the state to place on roads to prevent ice and snow accumulation. Mayor Stratton said the city does not have the equipment to apply brine, which he says is very expensive. Plus, according to Stratton, brine is easily washed way if it is raining.
The county has two salt spreaders, three trucks with attached snow graders, two tractors with grader blades and two road graders. The county’s winter weather equipment was updated in 2010, said Chick.
Although it is very difficult for the county to plow its 100 plus miles, Paul Lyne and the road department do the best they can to get to as many roads as possible.
“We hit the high traffic areas first such as Stevenson Mill Road,” said Lyne, adding the hills and bridges are also first on the list to be salted. “We take our little truck and start with all the hills and bridges and then work our way out. I always send a truck down by the lake area as well.”
The county’s graders can handle from six to ten inches of snow, but if its ice, that is another story says Lyne.
“When you get a rain situation that turns to ice there is not really much you can do. Salt only works over 28 degrees and sometimes if you run over ice with a grader blade it just makes it slicker. You really have to use your judgement in those situations,” said Lyne.
The county road crews try to grade and salt during the daytime hours. Lyne says the crews try not to go out in the middle of the night because it is so dangerous with the small country roads. “It’s very tricky,” said Lyne.
When bad weather hits, Lyne said the road department heads out in four different directions. If it’s a light snow, they usually take requests to clear a road.
“I would urge people to have a little patience when the snow hits and remember that this is a rural area,” said Lyne, adding the road crews will try to get to as many roads as possible depending on conditions.