Bexley ready for winter weather with salt, staffing, Service Director Andy Bashore says
As winter continues, the city of Bexley will refill its salt supplies as called for by the weather.
Service Director Andy Bashore said the service department facility at 1777 Delmar Drive can hold about 400 to 500 tons of salt. He said the city has used 150 tons of salt since late 2020.
“We have to order quite regularly,” he said.
Bexley participates in a consortium with other municipalities that enables them to purchase salt through annual contracts negotiated by the Ohio Department of Transportation. This year’s purchase price for salt is $64.41 per ton from supplier Cargill Inc., down from last winter’s bid of $80.41 per ton by American Rock Salt, ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning said.
“The reduction is likely due to the mild winter we experienced last season, which results in lower demand for road salt,” Bruning said.
The frequency of Bexley’s salt purchases “depends on how the storms come in or if there is any snow or ice events,” Bashore said. “When we got back (in the office) right after Christmas, I ordered to get the bins full again.”
Bashore said the service department prioritizes salting and plowing by first concentrating on major thoroughfares such as E. Broad Street, E. Main Street, Cassady Avenue, Gould Road, and Roosevelt Avenue. Salt trucks then focus on streets surrounding schools, ensuring that at least one truck is assigned to each area of the city: north, south and central.
The decision to begin salting and plowing streets “depends on how the storm comes in and plays out,” Bashore said. “If it gets more than an inch and a half (of accumulated snowfall), we start plowing. If it gets more than four inches, we’ll plow the alleys.”
While municipalities such as Bexley attend to streets within their city limits, ODOT plows state and U.S. routes outside of municipalities and all interstate highways throughout Ohio, Bruning said.
As of early January, “ODOT has 602,000 tons of salt on hand statewide. That is about 71% of our total capacity,” Bruning said. “In central Ohio, ODOT District 6, which serves Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway and Union counties, has just over 52,000 tons on hand, about 73% of their capacity.”
Bashore said Bexley has seven snow plow trucks and usually runs four to five trucks at a time.
Bexley’s service department is back up to full staffing after having employees work staggered shifts when the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic first broke out last year, Bashore said. However, the department limits the number of employees to one driver per salt truck.
“Usually, there is a couple guys in a truck,” he said.