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
  • 0723bcfair0083.jpg Boyd County Fair in full swing

    Arriving at the Boyd County Fairgrounds last night, ears were filled with the sounds of children’s laughter, grown-up chatter and the screams of those individuals brave enough to partake of the weathered rides.

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • Cans, trailer and moving dollies reported stolen to APD

    A thief targeted recyclables in a heist at the Pollard Place group home Friday.

    July 22, 2014

  • McConnell co-sponsors bill to protect correctional officers

    U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell co-sponsored legislation to help protect correctional officers and staff at Federal Bureau of Prison facilities.

    July 22, 2014

  • School discrimination suit settled

    A former Greenup County schools custodian has settled his federal racial discrimination suit against the school district, but the terms will not be made public.

    July 22, 2014

  • Family trip detour provides military thrill for 10-year-old

    Jeremy Crawford’s idea of a good time is a seat beside his papaw, watching their favorite World War II movies.

    July 22, 2014

  • Highlands marks year of progress

    This time last year, the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center was facing an eviction notice. Now, the museum is celebrating a year’s worth of progress where not only does it have ownership of its Winchester Avenue building, but is seeing an upswing in exhibition attendance.

    July 22, 2014

  • First lady recognizes Morehead

    Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear said Morehead’s achievement in finally reaching Trail Town certification exemplifies the strength and dedication of the small town community during her address Tuesday at the Rowan County Arts Center.

    July 22, 2014

  • Local in brief: 7/23/14

    The inaugual Ride for Autism will be Aug. 23, starting and ending at Callihan’s American Pub & Grill at the Kyova Mall, including a stop at Carter Caves State Resort Park.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723trailtown.jpg First lady recognizes Morehead Trail Town status

    Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear said Morehead’s achievement in finally reaching “Trail Town” certification exemplifies the strength and dedication of the small town community during her address Tuesday at the Rowan County Arts Center.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • McConnell co-sponsors bill to protect correctional officers

    U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell co-sponsored legislation to help protect correctional officers and staff at Federal Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities.

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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