Mayor Henry: Residents Should Take Storm Seriously

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

Mayor Henry: Residents Should Take Storm Seriously

February 4, 2014 Updated Feb 4, 2014 at 5:04 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- As severe winter weather conditions approach the area the Fort Wayne Street Department will once again be working around the clock. However, motorists should use caution as drifting and 6 to 10 inches of new snow cover the roadways.

The City of Fort Wayne is under a Winter Storm Warning through 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Blowing and drifting along with new snow are expected to make driving difficult through tomorrow evening. Forecasters are calling for snow to fall at the rate of 1 inch per hour tonight. City crews are ready to go with a salt supply and plow trucks maintained to attack the storm.

“I encourage residents to take this approaching storm seriously and be prepared,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “Be sure to use caution and check on friends and neighbors. I also want to thank the employees at the Street Department. They’ve been working around the clock to keep our streets plowed, salted, and safe.”

Early last week, because of the high demand for road salt nationwide, the City began looking for alternate sources to supply treatment options for slick streets. Over the next few days residents may notice a different color to the substances being put down on streets. A brown-colored de-icing liquid mixed with beet juice will be used on major streets, and a new supplier of salt will deliver salt later this week that will likely be a different color than the blue we usually use.

Plow trucks will remain on the main arterial streets needed for emergency vehicles until it stops snowing and the main roads are cleared of ice and snow. Then crews will move to secondary streets such as those used for bus routes and 24-hours after it stops snowing, plow trucks will move to residential streets if we receive 3 or more inches of snow. After the residential streets are plowed we will apply a sand/beet juice/deicing mixture on these neighborhood streets to combat the heavy ice left by recent rains.

Winter Numbers

- The City of Fort Wayne has used 18,000 tons of salt so far this winter at a cost of $1.1 million.

- The City of Fort Wayne has replaced 742 plow-truck under-blades so far this winter at a cost of $44,390.

- The City of Fort Wayne has spent $300,000 in overtime to plow and salt streets this winter.

- The City of Fort Wayne has spent $115,000 to hire contractors to assist with plowing this winter.

- Costs for the additional fuel used by plow trucks operating around the clock are not available at this time.

INDOT drivers will be raking in the overtime. Governor Mike Pence has directed crews to prepare for a full callout across most of the state as the winter storm approaches. The state has 800 ploy trucks and drivers will be working 12-hour shifts. Each INDOT plow route takes 2-3 hours to complete with salt assisting in melting between passes.

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