August 20, 2019

Road commission concerned about spring thaw


ARENAC COUNTY — While a mild winter with less-than-average snowfall has been manageable for the Arenac County Road Commission, the freeze-thaw cycles experienced so far may cause issues for the road commission and residents in the spring.

The Arenac County Road Commission has only used about 1,100 tons of salt this season, Commissioner Ken Stawowy said, when at this point in the year it typically has used 1,300-1,500 tons.

While managing roads has been fairly smooth so far, Stawowy said the current weather patterns could pose trouble for unpaved, gravel roads in the near future.

“Salt is not a problem, we have plenty of salt on hand,” Stawowy said. “Our biggest concern right now is the frost.”

Because of the amount of rain followed by freezing temperatures, frost has been driven deep under gravel roads, Stawowy said, and could cause damage if thawed too quickly in the springtime.

“Ideally, in the spring when the frost comes out of the roads, if we get some warm days and cooler nights the frost comes out gradually and we can deal with it,” Stawowy said. “It’s when the frost comes out all in the course of a few days that the roads get soft and we’ve got a problem.”

Stawowy said a similar situation occurred a couple of years ago and resulted in muddy, soft roads.

Once the roads are in that condition, Stawowy said not much can be done aside from waiting for them to dry out.

“They are a muddy, sloppy mess and we try to blade them as best as we can but there is not much you can do when the road is soupy and sloppy,” Stawowy said. “Adding rock doesn’t really help much: the rock just pushes into the mud and doesn’t really help a lot, so the only thing we can do is wait for a dry-up and do what we can.”

Stawowy said in the chance of a bad frost break-up, he requests that residents be patient with the road commission and encourages them to reach out as soon as they notice an issue with their road.

While the weather may cause problems in the spring, the mild conditions so far have allowed the commission to focus on other tasks not possible in heavy snow such as brush trimming along various county roads.

“It’s ideal time for cutting brush so we have been out virtually daily,” Stawowy said. “With the lack of snow, it makes it a lot easier to work.”

Along with keeping busy, the road commission is preparing for the upcoming construction season, getting ready to put bids out and putting together work orders for the various townships.

Because the plows tend to forcefully push snow to the side of the road and knock over flimsy mailboxes, he also reminded the public to check their mailbox posts and make sure they are secure.


Please review our community guidelines before posting

Please keep comments on topic and appropriate for all ages. Remember that people of all ages read our website. Those that are not appropriate will be removed. Please read our full community guidelines before posting.

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

Copyright © 2019, Sunrise Publishing. Powered by: Creative Circle Advertising Solutions, Inc.