All de-icing chemicals have distinct properties and freeze points. Traditional road salt (sodium chloride) is the principle means of treatment but has limitations during colder temperatures.
During moderate temperature conditions (temperatures over zero) a salt brine may be employed as a pre-storm anti-icing agent. It consists of 2.5 pounds of salt per every gallon of water. This brine is applied at a rate of 40 gallons per lane mile. Treated miles include City arterials and primary collector streets. A second route of rural and business park roads are then serviced. It takes one truck with a mounted tank sprayer approximately four hours to cover 22 miles.
Geo-Melt, or beet juice as it is commonly referred to, is a natural agricultural product which makes it environmentally friendly because it does not contain all the corrosive properties of calcium chloride, an alternative cold weather chemical. It is applied as a pre-storm agent to prevent ice and snow from bonding to the pavement.
Each storm has its own characteristics with variable conditions such as duration, wind velocity, air temperature, and moisture content. Snow plowing and ice control operations begin as standard operations until – or when – the Mayor is advised to declare a snow emergency. It is a judgment call based on several factors: the weather forecast, snow intensity, and reports from the police department as to when road conditions become hazardous.
Generally speaking, emergency operations go into effect when the snowfall turns to blizzard or near blizzard status with poor visibility or when the streets are completely covered with ice or heavy snow. Light, but persistent snow flurries, interspersed with sub-zero temperatures, have made road maintenance particularly challenging this winter. For the most part, the persistent snowfalls have kept Franklin’s road crews busy, even though they have not reached the level of a declared snow emergency.
Thru streets take priority in maintenance because they must handle higher volumes of traffic and need to remain clear for emergency vehicles, i.e. police, ambulance, and fire. Neighborhood roads and cul de sacs are more time consuming to clean out and are plowed in the best possible time frame depending on the severity of the storm and the ability to keep main streets and arterials open to all thru traffic.
On days when the streets are dry and the sky is clear, public works drivers often go out to do follow up maintenance, such as cutting back snow banks or cutting away frozen edges of snow that never had a chance to melt. This may occur along certain highways or along neighborhood side streets. As a result, public works trucks may be seen traveling down primary connector streets to reach the neighborhood roads in need of more maintenance. These measures help relieve plowing operations during the next storm.