Snow & Ice Removal Program
When winter precipitation is in the forecast the MX Vision Weather Sentry. The weather forecasting software provides a real-time representation of what to expect for precipitation type, timing and quantities. Accurate forecasting is critical to our roadway pretreatment program.
Proper pretreatment of the roadway surface just prior to the arrival of frozen precipitation is critical in preventing bonding of snow and/or ice to the roadway. Preventing this bond allows our snow plows to push it off and clear the roadway much faster and more efficiently at a lower cost in both materials and man-hours.
Public Works treats our bridge decks with a spray of magnesium chloride (Freeze Guard) ahead of freezing precipitation since the surface of bridges is the first to freeze over.
Road Treatment Area
The pretreatment program includes all 256 "lane miles" of our pretreatment Truck Routes for Major and Minor Collector Streets plus other roadway segments that have historically been "trouble spots" during a snow/ice event.
The pretreatment materials (road salt treated with beet juice and sprayed with magnesium chloride Freeze Guard) are applied to the surface of the roadway approximately one hour in advance of the arrival of freezing precipitation. The road salt is applied at the rate of 200 to 400 pounds per lane mile depending upon the nature of the winter storm and the temperature.
For the entire 256 lane miles of roadway that equates to 25 to 50 tons of road salt, 150 to 300 gallons of beet juice and 200 to 400 gallons of magnesium chloride Freeze Guard per pretreatment event. At the 2015 cost of materials that equates to $2,875 to $5,750 for the road salt, $300 to $600 for the beet juice and $270 to $540 for the magnesium chloride Freeze Guard for a total typical pretreatment material cost of $3,260 to $6,520.
Depending on the nature of the winter storm event, we will continue to spread additional materials on the roadway as conditions warrant. For a really bad winter event that persists for more than 3 or 4 days, we can go through as much as 400 tons of salt, especially if the winter storm includes a lot of ice.
Public Works strives to clear our 256 lane miles of main roadways first to allow drivers to travel safely on our busy main routes through the City of Springdale. After these main roadways have been pretreated and plowed, we can move on to our smaller residential streets.
Winter Event Duration
A "typical" winter event in Northwest Arkansas is usually a one or two day event with sunny days to follow with temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Direct sunlight and rising temperature will quickly start the much needed melting process, especially those roadways that were pretreated. A non-typical winter storm event like we witnessed in 2013-14 is a different story altogether and requires more materials and man-hours and can last for more days. Public Works is committed to stay with process until the roads are back to normal driving conditions.
If you have questions about our snow and ice removal program you can call Public Works at 479-750-8135.