Thursday, October 2, 2003

Hamilton readies for assault of this winter

Brine device delays snow from sticking

By Aaron Johnson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - Butler County is ready for this winter with a new means of keeping roads passable.

Last year's winter, filled with days of heavy snow and ice, prompted the county to buy an automatic salt brine production system, which has already proven itself in other areas but has not been used extensively in Southwest Ohio.

Brine, created by adding water to salt, is a preventative tool intended to be spread atop paved roads prior to snowfalls. It delays accumulations by melting the initial flakes that normally stick.

"I think the biggest thing is that it gives us time," said Greg Wilkens, Butler County Engineer. "It keeps the snow from sticking and gives us time to get out to the farther regions of the county."

The total cost was $34,258, but Wilkens says it will quickly more than make up for the cost in savings and also reduce the work hours and stress on salt truck drivers.

"If we knew snowfall was coming, we called drivers in earlier, now we can buy that time and we don't have to worry about the first snowflake," Wilkens said. "The efficiency will make their lives a little easier; (it won't be) as critical for them to be there right at the moment the first snowflake hits."

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