When the snow flies this winter, the village of Montgomery’s public works department and its snow plow crews will be ready, according to Mark Wolf, the village’s director of public works.
Wolf presented the village board with his department’s snow removal and ice control plan for the upcoming winter season during a meeting Monday evening, Oct. 25 at Village Hall.
Village residents and people who drive through the village should not expect to see any significant changes in the village’s snow plowing and ice control operations this winter, according to Wolf.
“Basically not a lot has changed over the course of the year,” he said of the program. “Our mission has stayed the same as we move through year-to-year.”
Wolf noted his department is responsible for plowing and salting approximately 162 lane miles of street in the village along with 14 separate village-owned properties, including parking lots, sidewalks and access roads at village hall, the village police station, water well houses and other sites.
Public works crew members plow and salt roads according to a color-coded map that divides the village into six separate zones. Two of the zones, the blue and a portion of the green zone, are located east of the Fox River, while the remaining portion of the green zone along with all of the purple, red, orange and yellow zones are located west of the river.
Wolf noted that while the zones vary in size they contain comparable amounts of street lane miles.
Importantly, Wolf said his department is currently fully staffed heading into the winter for the first time in at least the past two years.
He added that crew members have already been working to prepare the snow plows and other equipment for the upcoming winter season.
Wolf noted that the village currently has between 1,000 and 1,400 tons of road salt in storage, left over from last year.
“We have made a huge effort to educate our employees and, at the same time, to calibrate our equipment in order to make sure we are consistently putting down the same tonnage of salt per vehicle in each section of town so we get a unified end product when we are completed with our snow removal efforts,” he said.
Wolf added that his department has worked to reduce the amount of salt used by adopting different management practices and utilizing different liquid materials.
When questioned by Village President Matt Brolley, Wolf said it is hard to say how long the village’s current supply of salt will last since it is dependent upon weather conditions and post-storm temperatures.
“So it is hard to really say. (But) I would think in an average year that tonnage would last us a good two months, but it dependent upon how many (storm) events we get,” he said.
Wolf said he expects to request board approval to purchase additional salt next month. He said last year the village paid $41 per ton for salt and had budgeted this year’s purchases at an anticipated cost of $66 per ton. He noted the current price is favorable at $61 per ton.
Wolf said the village will continue to rely on DTN-Weather Sentry Online, a subscription forecasting service to monitor the weather and plan plowing and ice control operations.
“DTN provides the most complete winter snow and ice storm forecasts and warnings, specific for the Montgomery area. Additionally, we can monitor temperature changes on an hour-by-hour basis to effectively plan operations,” he said.
As public works director, Wolf manages the subscription account and receives daily email weather alerts, text alerts as weather conditions begin to change.
Additionally DTN provides the public works department and village police with 24/7 access to radar maps, the most up to date forecasts, and the ability to blog with a meteorologist to discuss conditions specific to Montgomery, according to Wolf.