Bexley News

Assessment of winter

Recent salt use brings home need for storage; city re-evaluating procedures

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If central Ohio gets hit with any more snow and ice before spring asserts itself, the city of Bexley has enough salt supplies to handle it, Mayor Ben Kessler said.

The city plans to move its remaining salt supplies to a new storage facility when City Hall and Bexley's Service Department relocate later this year to accommodate a new Giant Eagle store at the current municipal building site at 2242 E. Main St., Kessler said.

"We're in good shape right now -- fully stocked at about 425 tons (of salt)," he said.

"We anticipate moving what we have to our new salt storage facility for next year, purchasing the approximately 200 additional tons that storage facility will be able to handle, and then topping up our supply as needed with our 2015 salt contract."

The city is still tabulating how much it spent on salt and overtime costs related to snow removal over the past three months, Kessler said, but he confirmed there was a significant increase over last year.

"We consumed about 1,100 tons of salt, compared to less than 700 last year, so even though last year was light compared to normal years, this year was definitely a tough one on salt usage," he said.

For most of the winter, the city maintained its policy of pre-treating roads if forecast weather conditions indicated that would help, and then following up by salting and clearing snow as quickly as possible, Kessler said. But this year's particularly harsh winter made the city re-evaluate some of its procedures, he said.

When salt supplies ran low due to regional shortages, "temporarily, we prioritized salting main streets and only plowing on side streets," he said. "It certainly inspired us to carefully plan our salt barn at the new service garage, to make sure we had the ability to stockpile a little more there than we have at our current facility."

The city also is considering implementing parking on only one side of the street during snow emergencies on some of its narrower streets.

"We had several locations this winter where residents would be parked on both sides of streets, farther from the curb than normal, and we were unable to get our plow down those streets," Kessler said. "That was very frustrating for us and for the residents whose streets we weren't able to reach, and we want to make sure we can help prevent that problem in the future."

As for the remnants of the winter of 2014 -- potholes -- Kessler said city workers are aware of the locations of most of them and will respond to resident reports as well. He said the city is waiting for plants that produce a hot asphalt mix to open for the season and then will fill the majority of potholes.

In the meantime, the city will begin patching some of the holes with a cold mix.

Looking ahead to next winter, the city's 2015 salt contract will enable Bexley to purchase about 900 tons, Kessler said.

That amount "should put us in good shape for even a tough winter," he said, "with adequate storage capacity in the event that we have a moderate winter."

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