Cassville implements new snow control policy

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Change aims to helps prepare crews, residents for winter road conditions

The city of Cassville has implemented new policies for snow and ice control on roads, which include a new mixture of salt and sand, as well as prioritized levels of service that aim to provide motorists with adequate driving surfaces.

David Brock, Cassville public works director, said a couple of things will change from how the city approached winter weather in the past.

“The sand we are using for traction control is essentially crushed limestone, and is a little bit more native to this part of the country,” Brock said. “We have also completed construction of salt and sand bins, which will be used in lieu of cinders.”

According to Brock, the reason he was able to make that change was, in order to buy bulk salt, the city has to be able to accept 25 tons of it. The salt is a remnant left from the evaporation of an ancient sea that covered much of the central United States.

“So you need a special storage bin to hold it, which we built,” Brock said. “Before, when we were buying bagged salt, we were paying $270 per ton. Now we are able to purchase rock salt that is mined in Kansas for $78 per ton.”

Brock said the other big change was setting out a way to prioritize where the snow plowing occurs.

“It is common sense that you want to get the roads that are through streets with the most traffic first,” Brock said. “Also, we do plowing for a lot of the public safety agencies, like the Barry County Sheriff’s Office, Barry County E-911 and Cassville Fire Department.”

Brock said then, after emergency vehicles can get where they need to go, the second level of priority is people who will want to go to school, go to work, get their prescriptions and get food.

“That level is what we describe as activity centers,” Brock said.

According to Brock, the third level is everything else, all the residential streets and City Hall parking lot.

“With the rock salt and limestone sand, we think it will be a little better environmentally,” Brock said. “Cinders are basically ash from a power plant, and it is difficult to know what trace elements are in that, because it varies by where the coal was mined and how they burned it.”

Brock said rock salt still presents its own potential for damaging grass and concrete.

“It is important to only use the amounts of rock salt that are necessary to keep the roads open and running,” Brock said. “Rock salt doesn’t damage asphalt, but the crews will still have to be careful not to over broadcast the mixture onto concrete drives.”

Brock said calls for service will be logged and periodically forwarded to snow removal supervisors for review and potential action.

“Residents are encouraged to report hazardous conditions, but should be aware that such conditions may exist across the entire community,” Brock said. “Cassville does not formally restrict on-street parking during snow/ice events.

“However, residents should realize that on-street parking severely impacts an already hazardous task for snow plow operators.”

Brock said residents are strongly encouraged to move vehicles and/or trailers to an off-street location before or during a winter storm.

“One of the most frequent concerns generated in plowing snow on public streets is snow being deposited across residential driveways,” Brock said. “As plows travel along streets, the snow accumulated on the plow blade must be ejected to the right.

“The more snow that has fallen, the greater the impact is to landscaped areas and private drives.”

According to Brock, one way residents can help this situation is to clear an “upstream” of their driveway, and pile snow they have

shoveled on the “downstream” side, instead of placing it on both sides at the end of the driveway.

“This creates an open area where accumulated snow from the plow can unload and avoid a new line of snow from being created across the driveway,” Brock said. “It is the policy of the city of Cassville to assist disabled residents by opening driveways that have been blocked by snow plowed from public streets.

“Logged requests for such assistance will be fulfilled when plow operators are available.”

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