Going The Extra Mile: Job Of Road Clearing Tougher In Bitter Cold

By Jeff Neumeyer

December 12, 2013 Updated Dec 12, 2013 at 6:36 PM EDT

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- Local highway crews are adding something to their salt and sand mixture, to melt snow and ice during this stretch of bitter cold weather.

Allen County Highway Department workers spent part of Thursday morning and afternoon scraping snow from subdivision side streets, and spreading a mix of sand and salt to melt the frozen topping left behind on local and secondary roads.

When it gets really frigid like this, a special chemical is added to make the concoction more effective.

" What we do is we add calcium chloride to the salt and sand mixture, which I say it makes it hotter. It allows the salt and sand to work in below zero temperatures, basically under minus 20," said Randy Knach, who runs a Highway barn off Carroll Road.

All local government units these days are sort of tight on money.

The county highway department insists it has enough for snow removal events, but depending on how bad the winter is, it could come up short other parts of the year.

" If we use too much, it takes away from our summer work, meaning asphalt costs and supplies. You only have so much," Knach said.

He says the crews he supervises spread about 350 tons of salt and sand on roadways, whether we get a one-inch or six-inch snowfall.

Another batch of snow is expected over the weekend.

Salt and sand supplies are being tapped, and it's only mid-December.

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