SALEM -There's snow expected on the first day of winter this Friday, but city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst said crews are ready with plows mounted, trucks checked and plenty of salt to spread.
Since coming into office last January, he said he hasn't had to deal much with the white stuff since last winter was so mild, so he doesn't know what to expect.
He's issuing a reminder to residents, though, about the city's snow emergency ban and when it takes effect.
"When there's a forecast of 4 inches or more, all cars or vehicles must be removed from the city streets," he said.
When a snow ban is activated, the information is sent to the television and radio stations and newspapers. When asked where people should park if they don't have a driveway and normally park in the street, he suggested they use municipal lots or other parking lots.
"It takes us twice as long to plow the streets and we can't do as good of a job when cars are parked on the streets," Kenst said.
Using funding from the sale of street grindings earlier this year, he said the department purchased some equipment to make their jobs a little easier. Tarps were installed on all the trucks so the salt won't get wet and slides out easier to cover the streets.
He also explained that previously, the trucks had a gear shift to control the trucks and a separate controller for the spreader, meaning the operators had to take their hand off of the manual gear shift to activate the spreader. Now they've installed a one-button control on the gear shift to activate the salt spreaders so operators don't have to keep going back and forth with the controls.
The city fleet includes four large trucks with plows, with a new smaller plow truck on the way. Pickups equipped with plows are used for alleys and smaller streets. The city uses a mix of salt and grit (small pieces of gravel) on the roads.
The streets supervisor keeps an eye on the weather and also relies on the police department to let them know if a certain intersection or spot is icing up. Kenst said they tackle the streets first, then try to get to the alleys.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org