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Cerro Gordo County using less road treatment products than normal

"We’re approximately 30-percent through our normal supply of sand and salt."

Posted: Feb. 5, 2019 11:07 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa – With the extremely cold temperatures we experienced last week, it is hard to believe that this is being considered a mild winter – especially when it comes to road conditions and keeping drivers safe.

Cerro Gordo County Engineer, Brandon Billings, tells KIMT this winter has been so mild that it could potentially save some money next year.

“We’re approximately 30-percent through our normal supply of sand and salt,” Billings told KIMT. According to the foreman, that supply is normally half gone by this time of year. But Billings points out that temperature plays an important role when applying these materials to roadways.

“There’s very specific temperature ranges for each kind of treatment. Whether we use salt brine, regular sand and salt, or any of the other treatments, they all have specific temperature ranges. So you not only have to plan for the storm you’re in, but the one that’s going to happen tomorrow,” said Billings.

He also allows that treating roads can actually create more problems.

“If you just straight sand, it will work fine. If you have sand and salt, you have to make sure that the wind isn’t going to pick up because that can actually add to the mess on the road.”

He says the reason behind this is the mixture of the two products creates a texture on the road, catching the snow causing it to accumulate instead of melting.

Billings also reminds drivers to be courteous to snow plow drivers around you, giving them plenty of space to work. He also suggests not piling snow at the end of driveways because as it freezes, it can cause major damage to plows or other vehicles passing by.

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