St. Clair Shores ready for snow

Green flashing lights featured on vehicles

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 18, 2019

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Winter finally seems to be hitting Michigan, with snow at least in the forecast, but its delay has been good news for the St. Clair Shores Department of Public Works.

“We did have a big winter last year, and we went through 2,600 tons of salt last year,” DPW Director Bryan Babcock said Jan. 10. “To date, this year, we’ve only had to order 200 tons of salt, so it’s been a slow start to winter.

“It’s allowed us to get a lot of other work done.”

That’s because the same employees who are responsible for spreading salt on icy roads are also the workers in the forestry department.

“They’ve been doing a great job at getting a lot of tree removals done that are necessary,” Babcock said. “We do one final fall leaf cleanup before winter, (and) we got that done right before Christmas.”

In addition, DPW has been able to install street name signs throughout the city, and the tree-trimming contractor that works with the city has been able to get through the entire municipality. The first pass through took seven years; Babcock said that he’s hoping the second run will only take five years.

“We elevate the branches on the street side and the sidewalk side, and we remove any deadwood branches from the inside as well,” Babcock said.

Nevertheless, the department is ready for whenever winter arrives.

A new contract with the Detroit Salt Co. for 2,700 tons of salt will cost the city less this year, as the price St. Clair Shores paid a different company for salt for the 2017-18 winter was $56.35 per ton. The price from the Detroit Salt Co. for 2018-19 is $50.81 per ton.

About 500 tons of salt is on hand in the city right now.

“Every time we go out salting, we call in another order to help replenish,” Babcock said.

It takes about 50 tons of salt to get through the city during a light snowfall and up to 250 tons for a larger snow event. With two back-to-back big snowstorms, Babcock said that all the salt on hand can be depleted.

There’s no new equipment on the streets when the snow flies this year, but look for public safety green flashing lights on the city’s newer vehicles.

“Statewide, they’re switching to that green light because they’re finding that it’s more visible to traffic, especially during snowfalls,” Babcock said. “We just ask that people try to stay back from the plows and don’t try to pass them.

“It’s dangerous for the plow drivers and also for the residents.”