Maybe I’m a little different than some, but it seems the older I get, the more and more I dislike snow.
It wasn’t always this way. I grew up in Pickrell and when it snowed in Pickrell, all of the kids around came to the hill we lived on to sled. We all had so much fun. Many nights, we would be out sledding down the hill well past dark.
You would see all types of sleds it seemed: some with toboggans, plastic molded sleds and the old reliable wooden sleds with steel runners. We would take our sleds and rub crayons on the runners trying to get every last bit of speed out of our sleds as we went barreling down the hill. It seems like that was so long ago.
Well, this year, winter was going along so well. We had made it through November and almost all the way through December before we saw any of the white stuff. Then it happened, just what everyone was hoping for: a white Christmas. Dec. 23-24, Old Man Winter showed his face and gave us 6 inches of fluffy snow.
Most of the time, a cold dry snow makes it fairly easy to clear the streets, but this snow was followed by subzero temperatures.
By 7 a.m. on the morning of Christmas Eve, the street crews had been working for 12 hours and had plowed and treated all of the emergency snow routes in town and were close to beginning on the residential streets.
Street crews had plowed all night until the snow stopped and then began to treat emergency routes with salt and gravel. With the temperatures at or near zero, it took a considerable amount of time for the salt to begin to work on the streets.
Normally, pure rock salt will not begin to melt snow until the air temperatures are near 23 degrees. We treat our salt with 5 gallons of APEX per ton of salt. This is the same liquid we use to pre-treat the emergency routes in town before storms. When applied to salt, APEX lowers the melting point of pure rock salt to near zero, allowing for a slow melt, even in brutally cold weather.
By 4 p.m. Christmas Eve, all of the residential streets had be plowed once. In the city of Beatrice, residential streets are only plowed if more than 2 inches of snow falls and residential streets are not treated with salt or gravel.
One good thing about not getting our first snow until almost January is that crews have not had to spend overtime working to remove snow. This, along with only having used approximately 40 tons of salt for the Christmas storm, has been a great cost savings to the city.
With this being the last editorial from the Street Department until July, I wanted to jump off the topic of winter and discuss construction projects that will be completed this summer.
This summer, we will have an asphalt milling project on Ella Street from Sixth Street down to Third Street and on Third Street from Ella Street to Court Street. We will also be working on a two-block section of Ninth Street from Court Street to Elk Street. This section of street was once a concrete street that, years ago, had a thin layer of asphalt put over it. Our plan is to mill off the layer of asphalt on it and replace it will a new 2-inch layer of asphalt. ADA ramps will also be replaced on this project.
We are also planning on replacing two different sections of concrete streets in town. One section is on Summit Street from Seventh Street to Ninth Street, and the other section is on Bell Street from 10th Street to 12th Street. These two-block sections are in pretty rough shape and will be replaced along with the curbs and ADA ramps in these areas.
Lastly, the State Department of Transportation is planning to resurface Highway 77 from Hickory Road to Industrial Row. This will be part of a larger project they will be working on north of city limits, where they will patch any trouble areas and then mill the concrete surface and replace it will a super pave asphalt.
This state project will add to the Street Department’s already long list of construction projects to be completed this summer. As always, when you are driving and see traffic projects, please slow down and watch for workers.