February 6, 2016

Road commission ready for winter

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com


ARENAC COUNTY — Arenac County’s road commission is “pretty well set” for winter, according to Superintendent Blair Dyer.

“The guys have their sanders on, and the blades are in,” Dyer said. “We’re waiting for the ground to freeze.”

Dyer said the unpaved roads in the county have been bladed already in preparation for colder weather, effectively smoothing out the roads — but after the area received a heavy dose of rain, he wants to go over and blade them again to keep any dips or ruts from freezing later this year.

“The roads get knocked out of shape,” Dyer said. “The roads have gotten muddy, and we need to blade them again.”

Dyer said the road commission has stockpiled approximately 3,000 tons of salt to use on the roads once ice and snow start hitting the county. Dyer said that will last the county for part of the winter, though it would likely have to purchase additional supplies later in the season as the stockpile dwindles.

Dyer said he is preparing for this winter to be like a usual one, as opposed to the mild winter the road commission faced last year. Last winter, the commission had funds left over to put toward summer projects, but Dyer has no reason to expect that this winter.

The mild winter did bring with it a series of freezing and thawing on the county roads, which in turn left them muddy and in need of blading again during the winter months. Dyer hoped that would not be the case again this year, and that the roads will simply stay thawed once the weather warms up in the spring.

“Once they freeze, if they stay frozen, we’re fine,” Dyer said. “But when they have that thaw and freeze cycle, that makes them bad.”

As subsurface ice warms up, it moves toward the surface, and leaves the roads soft and muddy. As the roads dry or freeze again, this can leave them in poor condition.

Dyer said the road commission usually helps supply local cities with salt for roads, but added the cities do not usually need a great deal.

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