- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
County and state authorities say they’re prepared for the winter season’s expected weather.
The county’s Highway Maintenance Division began preparing in October, said Donas McCready, the division’s chief.
He said that the county has almost completed the process of equipping the county’s various trucks with snow plows and salt speaders.
McCready said between the county’s highway vehicles and those contracted by the county, there are a total of 28 dumptrucks and 38 large pickup trucks and small dumptrucks to clear the county roads.
McCready explained that while there are about 450 miles of county roads, any road treatment will cover 900 lane miles. He explained that because many of the county roads are two lanes, every mile in each lane gets counted.
“If you’re plowing snow,” he said, “you can only do one lane at a time.”
McCready also said that “all of our facilities are filled with salt and ready for the season.” He added that there are three domes in the county located at Barstow and Mt. Hope convenience centers and the Lusby Landfill.
The Maryland State Highway Administration will have 14 trucks dedicated to the 386 lane miles of SHA maintained roadway in Calvert, according to the SHA’s regional snow supplies and equipment fact sheet. In addition, the fact sheet states SHA has contracted an additional 35 trucks to aid in the snow removal efforts.
SHA spokesman David Buck said that statewide, SHA efforts are distributed 40 percent to state highway forces, and the other 60 percent to contracted forces.
“They are a huge, huge, huge part of what we do,” he said of the contractors.
According to the SHA’s winter operations facts and figures for the upcoming season, there are about 2,400 pieces of SHA, Maryland Transportation Authority and contracted equipment, including trucks, prepared for the winter weather. And, to man that equipment are 2,700 SHA, MdTA and contracted workers at the ready.
Among the various transportation agencies preparing for snow this winter, the difficult part is preventing and then removing ice from the roadways.
Typical materials for both preventing ice and deicing roadways include salt, salt brine which SHA states they make “extensive use of,” and abrasives such as sand and crushed stone, which are used solely to increase motor vehicle traction and have no snow or ice melting capabilities.
This year, SHA is expanding it’s anti-icing operations in an effort to reduce salt usage throughout the state, according to this season’s SHA winter operations facts and figures. To help reduce the salt usage, SHA is increasing it’s use of pre-wetted salt, or salt that has been wetted with salt brine or magnesium chloride, to help salt stick to the roadways better. According to SHA’s winter operations facts and figures, “studies have shown that pre-wetting can lead to a 30 percent reduction in salt usage.”
McCready said his “biggest request” of drivers this snow season is to be patient.
“Don’t drive if you don’t have to. Let us try to get the roads clear.”