Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 23, 2014

Winter work can be one cold cycle

ASHLAND — Time does not stop for anyone. For those in public service, the show must go on — no matter the weather.

But without the constant vigilance of public workers, like road maintenance, sanitation collection, police enforcement and other services, many vital communal functions would be lost.

Allen Blair, information officer for District 9 of the State Transportation Cabinet, said crews transition into 12-hour rotating shifts during snowstorms and work continuously until all state roads are clear.

Blair said the snowstorm that came in late Monday brought in the highest snow accumulations of the season, calling for highway crews to begin working at midnight Tuesday.

The large trucks seen pushing slush off roads function as both snow plows and salt trucks.

But during crucial storm prep, Blair said the real challenge is in the chemistry, since salt will not stick to the roads without first mixing with accumulation to make a melting solution.

Another battle is sub-zero temperatures. The icy air that followed the storm Tuesday brought back Arctic air comparable to the chill brought in from the polar vortex last week. But contrary to many beliefs, salt is not a cure-all when temps plummet.

“The challenge for this storm was to get as many routes as possible clear before nightfall last night (Tuesday) because we knew temperatures would fall,” Blair said. “Salt solutions on roadways are limited by temperature; the closer to zero, the less effective it becomes.”

Since cold weather penetrated into Wednesday, relieved temporarily by the sun during midday, Blair said they continued to work on plowing main roads and lower priority roads like Ky. 1 and Ky. 5.

Scattered ice patches inevitably remain.

Although this winter has seen more snow than recent years, Blair said he does not predict the state-funded Cabinet will face salt deficits.

“In our 10 counties, we stockpile around 25,000 tons of salt,” he said. “That's what we have in our salt domes. During a typical storm, we only use a few thousand tons. We may use three or four thousand in storms lasting three-to-four days.”

If they do run dry, because of the vigorous plow, salt, plow, resalt cycle, Blair said they can always draw from the state’s main tavern in Louisville, or from county reserves.

For those workers laboring continuously to keep roads clear, Blair said the long shifts during winter are normal.

“It's really a profession. Professional drivers and equipment operators,” he said. “It takes dedication and teamwork, but part of our duty is to maintain these clear highways and get them clear for people who rely on them. That's our job.”

Duty does not stop at maintaining roadways. Local public servants, such as sanitation workers, have a duty to residents to collect solid waste no matter the weather.

Head of the Ashland Solid Waste Department, Jim Wheeler, said this week was especially challenging for sanitation crews with the holiday on Monday, causing them to play catch-up in the snow.

Wheeler said the most challenging part is actually retrieving the trash from residential receptacles.

“The hardest part is the terrain. You have to walk through different terrain and snow makes it harder,” he said. “Trash cans don’t want to roll in the snow and in the frigid temperatures, cans want to freeze. They’re made of plastic; plastic and cold don’t mix.”

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.
     

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone