XENIA — The area’s first measurable snow did little, if anything, to disrupt traffic Wednesday. But Xenia and Greene County road crews are prepped for whenever winter decides to rear its ugly head.
“We’re ready to go,” said Ed Quinlan, Xenia’s public service maintenance superintendent. “We’re filled up on salt. All the plow trucks have been put together.”
Xenia has 1,000 tons of road salt on hand and has the ability to get 1,500 more from its suppliers.
“That’s usually more than enough,” Quinlan said.
The city has around 135 lane miles for which it is responsible. State routes and main roads are plowed first, followed by secondary and feeder roads and then the plats, according to Quinlan.
Greene County Engineer Bob Geyer is taking a “wait and see” approach towards purchasing road salt for county-maintained roads this winter. He said Thursday that about 1,500 tons of road salt are still available in the county’s barns from last year and about 7,500 tons have been bid out (this year at about $67 per ton) to be purchased as needed throughout the winter.
“I’m … of the opinion, I’d rather keep the money in my pocket than put it in the salt company’s pocket then let that salt be sitting here this time next year,” Geyer said. “When I decide I want it, I call and tell them how many tons I want.”
The county typically buys salt in 1,000-ton increments. According to Geyer, it takes about 100 tons of salt to cover county roads in one pass.
“If I [have] 1,500 tons in the barn, I [have] enough there to be able to see short range what the weather is going to be doing,” Geyer said. “I’m going to go by what the weather dictates what I have to do, not, ‘Because it’s winter time I’m gonna fill my barn up,’ which is what most people do.”
The “wait and see” approach could help to keep costs down after an expensive 2014-15 winter.
“Last year was a killer,” Geyer said. “When you’re spending almost $750,000 to $1 million out of a $6 million budget on salt, that kinda kicks you in the slats.”
According to Geyer, “we’re looking at above normal temperatures through January,” he said. “It’s about time for a mild winter. We’ve had too many bad ones in a row. Go, El Niño.”
Quinlan felt the same way.
“I’m praying that it’s a warm winter, yes,” he said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507. Contact Nathan Pilling at 937-502-4498 or on Twitter @XDGNatePilling.