A couple of Ferndale’s trucks sit in front of the city’s salt barn on East Cambourne Street, ready to clear the streets.

A couple of Ferndale’s trucks sit in front of the city’s salt barn on East Cambourne Street, ready to clear the streets.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Local public works departments already prepared for snow season

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published December 4, 2018


OAKLAND COUNTY — November hadn’t even ended before the first snowfall fell onto Oakland County, but local cities are ready for when the heart of the winter season arrives.

The two primary salt barns for the Woodward Talk area, located in Ferndale and Berkley, already have been filled to maximum capacity, according to the cities’ departments of public works.

Ferndale DPW Director Carlos Kennedy said the city has set itself up pretty well and bumped up the quantity it plans to have by 800 tons.

“Our salt mine is fully stocked. I think we’re sitting on almost just shy of 3,000 tons,” he said. “For the season, we have another 2,500 tons available to us. Plus, we can go 30 percent over that. So we’re actually in very, very good shape.”

With about 16 vehicles ready to disperse salt and plow snow, Kennedy said they’re feeling good about the upcoming snow season.

“Our goal is to make sure the roads are open and safe, and primarily before the rush hour hits. Sometimes we have no control over that, depending on what time — the timing of the storm — but that’s our goal, to keep those roads open and safe for commuters.”

Berkley’s DPW not only cleans up the streets of its own city, but also the city of Huntington Woods and the Berkley School District.

According to DPW Director Derrick Schueller, Berkley’s bin is holding around 800 tons of salt.

“We have a full bin, basically. In fact, we’ve been taking salt deliveries here over the last couple of days to get it basically all the way filled up. We go through about 1,400 tons through the course of the year,” Schueller said.

“As time goes by, we call and get truckloads of salt back in,” he said.

The snow has started falling a bit early this year, which Kennedy said he wasn’t surprised by, but he felt lucky that Ferndale wasn’t hit as hard as other cities.

“Other communities, they got blasted and they had to go out and do a full salting operation,” he said. “We were really lucky. We only had to go down to Eight (Mile Road) and Woodward (Avenue) and drop salt around the bridge at that intersection.”

Schueller said they’ve already salted a couple of times this year, which is not that unusual depending on the snow event.

“You’ve got to kind of just monitor it,” he said. “We had a couple mornings where it was almost like a flash freeze, and you had to react quickly and get the salt trucks out, but we always have salt in that bin to some degree, so we’re always utilizing it even in the early season as well.”

Schueller wanted to advise residents and businesses to limit parking on the street during snow events.

“That assists us in efficient plowing,” he said. “You don’t want to push your plow snow into the public right of way, and just giving the snowplow drivers enough room to do their business.”