February 10, 2016

Road Commission prepares for winter, says residents can help


ARENAC COUNTY — It’s not too early to think about winter, at least not for the Arenac County Road Commission.

And it’s encouraging the people of Arenac County to get ready for the snow-removal season as well.

“They should walk out and make sure their mailbox is secure. … Make sure the posts aren’t bad,” said Road Commission Superintendent Blair Dyer. “The force of the snow coming off the blades in pretty strong.

“If your mailbox is not anchored properly, or it’s a little loose, the snow will take it off.”

He added that mailboxes falling or being damaged is the biggest complaint to the road commission every winter and that if one is damaged due to a truck’s plow actually striking it, the road commission can be contacted and has a process to help residents replace the mailbox.

When it comes to salt for the winter, Dyer said the road commission is expecting to go through approximately 6,500 tons this year.

And due to prices, $53.87 per ton, the highest prices Dyer said he’s seen yet (the rate was $23.81 just four years ago in 2005), the commission is looking to be efficient in salt distribution.

“We’re going to have to watch our salt usage very closely,” he said. “On our primaries, you’ll probably see a little more sand with the salt. We did that last year and it seemed to work out pretty well.”

A service introduced by the road commission last year is also returning.

“We also have the night shift again this year,” Dyer said. “These are additional workers that come in at night.

“It’s a quicker service,” he continued. “It also saves on salt because rather than wait for the snow to build up, they’re there right away.”

And when it comes to commission equipment, Dyer said some drivers will be hitting the roads in a brand new, $190,000 truck – the first one purchased by the road commission in at least five years.

He said the new truck includes a 15-foot plow, rather than a 10-foot one like the plows on the other trucks, which will allow for more thorough, quicker clearing of shoulders and roads.

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