With brand name trucks HINO, Hyundai and Mack capable of carrying anywhere from one to 18 tons of materials, the team at West Virginia Department of Highways (WVDOH) is ready to take on the inclement weather during the upcoming winter season, aka Snow Removal and Ice Control (SRIC) season. SRIC runs from Nov. 1 through Apr. 15.
Greenbrier County Administrator of the Division of Highways Pat McCabe gave a tour on Wednesday of the facilities, materials and equipment at the ready for this season. He explained that our county has a $5 million annual budget for road maintenance, and that each year the idea is to try to go into SRIC with approximately 20 percent of that money to use in treating the roads during those six months.
“One snow storm can cost the county $50,000,” says McCabe. It is a close estimate that 1,400 miles of roads are cared for by WVDOH in Greenbrier County. It takes 20 trucks and over 50 employees to keep our roadways safe each year. “We do not sacrifice the public safety in regards to budget. And as needed, our road crews switch from eight hour days, five days a week, to two 12 hour shifts and 24 hour coverage to clear the roads of snow and ice.”
McCabe will oversee our county and state roads with a stock pile of 800 tons of salt and hundreds of tons of size eight and nine sifted gravel. These materials are mixed together with a not secret recipe to provide the best practices used to cover the roads during storms of snow and ice. A liquid salt brine is an additional tool used in advance of storms. The brine is sprayed behind the truck onto the roads up to two days in advance of precipitation to prevent snow and ice from sticking to the roads. McCabe says this is particularly useful around areas like Caldwell and Ronceverte hills.
Expressway Supervisor of the interstate Steve Hawkins explained that in addition to his stockpiles of gravel, salt and brine, he has another method to keep the interstates safer. According to Hawkins, when the temperature falls below 20 degrees, salt loses its efficacy. At this point, a liquid calcium is used instead.