SIDNEY — Sidney City Council Monday night talked about something that most people don’t even want to think about — winter.
Council reviewed the city’s snow- and ice-management plan at its workshop session. Street Superintendent Brian Green presented the report, noting the city has more than 111 miles of streets, 104 cul-de sacs, 62 dead-ends, and more than 18 miles of alleys to maintain.
The good news is that unlike last year, when there was a salt shortage and prices were very high, this winter a shortage is not expected, Green said, and prices have come in substantially lower. The city has about 500 tons of salt and 200 tons of salt/sand mix. The city is under contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation for 1,200 tons of salt this year at $70 per ton delivered. The city’s average annual salt usage is 1,400 tons over the last 10 years.
The city will continue its policy of plowing and salting main roadways and hills when snowfall surpasses 2 inches; residential streets and alleys won’t be addressed until more than 4 inches has fallen. There will be reduced or no salting (depending on storm predictions) on residential streets, alleys, parking lots, sidewalks and the cemetery. The exception for residential streets and alleys is that hills will be salted.
The priorities for what areas will get attention are thoroughfare roadways and vital areas; police, fire and Service Center driveways/parking lots; roadways around Wilson Memorial Hospital; roadways around city schools (when school is in session); the nine-block area surrounding the downtown square, including key sidewalks; steep roadways and hill alleys; downtown parking lots; and sidewalks.
New this year are automated vehicle locators (AVL), which will be on all snowplow trucks. AVLs have toggle sensors on plows and spreaders that will tell the city staff the plow position and if truck was spreading salt. Green said the devices give the city the ability to accurately locate and identify where trucks are, where they’ve been, and if they were plowing and salting at that location.
City Manager Mark Cundiff said the city gets calls from residents who say a snowplow hasn’t been down their street. “Now we will have proof,” he said.
“It will give us a better idea of how long it takes to do a route,” Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Gary Clough added.
Clough said the city will continue to use a brine and beet juice mixture to pretreat streets; it works at lower temperatures than salt. “It’s effectively a lot cheaper than salt,” he said.
The city has kept a record of snow events/shifts per season that shows a six-year average of 34 events per year. The 2013-14 winter was the highest, with 52 events. Last winter, the total was 29.
Average snowfall for Sidney is 32.1 inches. The total in 2013-14 was 52.65 inches, the third highest on record for the city. The 2014-15 total was 32.15 inches.
Green said the positive news is the city has knowledgeable and trained employees, good equipment, help from every city department, and “typically, winter weather is only for three or four months.”