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Scituate says it's ready for snow

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  December 23, 2010 10:09 AM

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Scituate solidified its snow strategy for this winter at this week's Board of Selectmen meeting.

According to Kevin Cafferty, the engineering supervisor for the Department of Public Works, Scituate will begin “fighting the storm for the bottom up,” by applying the new salt brine mixture to the roadways prior to snowfalls, something that should save the town money overall.

Although the system was not put in place for the snow on Monday, the machines should be up and running this week.

“Hopefully, it will be a big difference and safe us a lot of money,” Cafferty said. “It is applied directly to the road…and there is a minimal loss of salt when it gets applied to the roadway. So hopefully it’s a lot more efficient.”

The new method will also save the town the cost of clean up, because, unlike sand, the salt dissolves in the snow and won’t need to be swept up in the spring.

Scituate is one of the first towns to be taking advantage of this system. So far, only Fall River, Boston, and Lexington are using it, Cafferty said.

Although the method is fairly new, Caffery spoke highly of its benefits.

The new model is more environmentally friendly, as the watered-down salt mixture is better than applying 100 percent salt to the roads.

In addition, it will also help on overtime costs, as crews will not be putting down salt on top of the snow, plowing it away, and having to go back and reapply salt to the bottom layers of snow later.

Under this system, residents can expect to see the two machines out prior to a snowfall. In order to let the salt brine do its work, plows will not be put out until the roads receive one or two inches of snow.

When the roads are all cleared, the salt brine will be applied to the roads again to prevent any remaining snow from icing over.

The only drawback, Cafferty said, is that Scituate may have to close their transfer station during heavy snowfall, as those town employees will be busy preparing and clearing the roads.

“We might have to close the transfer station down if we have a big storm going on, but it’s in the effort of saving money overall,” Cafferty said. “It beats sitting in the transfer station waiting for 10 people to come in.”

On Dec. 30, the town will have both trucks out and next to the transfer station lot for any resident who wishes to come take a look and ask questions about the new method.

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