Washington County ready to keep roads clear

Photo by Michele Newbanks Mark Haught finishes up a long day of clearing roads in Washington County Tuesday.

Washington County’s first substantial snowfall of the year didn’t last long and won’t be repeated anytime soon.

“It looks like anywhere from 3 to 5 inches fell,” said Nick Webb, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, W.Va.

He said starting today, there will be a lot of sunshine, but the temperatures will remain in the 40s.

“It will be chilly (tonight) … into the upper teens if there’s still snow on the ground,” he added.

Weather will remain moderate the rest of the week, although weekend weather is still “up in the air,” Webb said.

“As far as precipitation chances go, it’s probably either a rain or nothing situation,” he replied. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty about the weekend.”

County road crews were out after the rain turned to snow Monday evening. County Engineer Roger Wright said earlier this year that a 60/40 mix of grit to salt is added to known icy areas.

The county has to be fiscally responsible, as pure salt is almost $100 per ton. The grit product is a fraction of that cost, as the county typically purchases 1,000 to 1,500 tons of salt every year.

“We have twice the amount of salt we use in a typical winter,” Wright said Tuesday.

“We use the salt and grit mixture. A single truck has liquid deicer for trouble areas.”

If there are rapid cold temperatures below 15 degrees, a beet juice brine is used, as it works below the freezing point of salt.

The county engineer’s office coordinates with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to find roads that are covered and slippery. One officer will check roads on the east side, while another checks roads on the west side.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.


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