AKRON, Ohio – Akron snow plow drivers spent Tuesday afternoon gearing up for the city’s first “snow event” of the winter. The forecast called for the possibility of 1 to 3 inches of snow by Wednesday morning.
However, dumping salt into trucks in advance of snowfall has been the exception rather than the rule this winter.
The city has pre-treated roads with brine (a salt/water mix) a handful of times, but crews have not done any plowing in November or December.
The estimated costs for snow and ice removal during those two months has been $20,000. By comparison, Akron spent $1.5 million in November and December 2010. That could ultimately help Akron’s general fund, but there is long way to go before Old Man Winter has the final say.
“We’ve been very fortunate, and let’s knock on wood, and hope it continues. It has been a Godsend so far this year. We haven’t saved money, but we’ve been blessed that we haven’t had to spend it,” said John Valle, Akron’s Deputy Service Director.
Valle said it’s very hard to budget for snow and ice removal because winter is unpredictable, but he’s not kidding himself that January and February will be like November and December.
He also realizes that $20,000 is just a fraction of the cost that Akron will incur for an entire winter.
“Last year, we spent pretty close to $5 million. The year before that, we spent $4.2 million and the year before that, we spent $3.5 million,” Valle said.
Valle said 51 snow plow drivers will battle any snow that falls on highways and major roads in Akron on Tuesday and Wednesday. He said heavy rainfall this month, coupled with freezing temperatures, could lead to dangerous, icy conditions.
“Ice can be definitely worse than snow. It can make it very hazardous,” Valle said.
Valle said the city has 6,000 tons of salt on hand and recently ordered another 16,000 tons. City officials will be prepared to order much more, as needed. Akron goes through 45,000 to 50,000 tons of salt during an average winter.
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