With the changing leaves and dropping temperatures putting folks in mind of the winter that’s coming, the county is preparing for the inevitable snow days ahead by getting salting equipment ready to go and stocking up on salt for use on the roadways.
Harlan County Road Superintendent Marvin Goins says they are currently in the process of getting the county’s salt spreaders out of storage and ready for the winter runs.
“We’ll be ordering some salt shortly,” Goins said. “We’ve got approximately 500 or 600 tons on hand at this time, so if we were to have some sort of freak storm before we get more salt delivered we already have salt available.”
Goins said the county plans to order approximately 500 more tons of salt.
Last year’s severe winter weather is not having an impact in how much salt the county intends to order.
“When you look at last winter as a whole, we only had on really bad spell…I call it a 50-year storm,” said Goins. “The rest of the winter was fairly mild and up until that big storm we hadn’t used that much salt at all.”
Goins said that if there is an emergency, there is a salt supplier close by and salt could be obtained quickly.
“Salt’s come down in price since last year,” said Goins. “It’s gone down from about $110 to around $101 per ton.”
Goins pointed out the county’s storage facility can hold approximately 1,500 tons of salt.
The county keeps three trucks available for use in each district, with a total of 15 trucks spreading salt throughout the county, Goins said.
“We run approximately 1,400 miles of road,” Goins said. “All the roads the county does are secondary roads. The state does all the big roads like U.S. 421 and U.S. 119, KY 160, all the roads like that are the state. The best way to describe the roads we do is if it’s got a name and not a number it’s a county road.”
Goins said that the earlier the salt gets on the road before the snow gets packed, the better it works.
“They’ve always told us that below 20 degree salt just starts laying there,” Goins explained. “But I’ve found that it works pretty well if the surface temperature is a little bit more than that. The air temperature can be real cold, but it’s the surface temperature that counts.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132, or on Twitter @joe_hde