Ryan Sinclair, front, and Bill Kruger, back, mechanics for the city of Troy, replace the springs on this salt truck to ensure it’s winter-ready on Nov. 8, 2018. This year, all equipment was road-ready before the first snowstorm of the year, Nov. 11.

Ryan Sinclair, front, and Bill Kruger, back, mechanics for the city of Troy, replace the springs on this salt truck to ensure it’s winter-ready on Nov. 8, 2018. This year, all equipment was road-ready before the first snowstorm of the year, Nov. 11.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Troy crews, equipment battle early snowstorm

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 19, 2019

 Jess Hein, a mechanic for the city of Troy, checks out the brakes on this truck.

Jess Hein, a mechanic for the city of Troy, checks out the brakes on this truck.

File photo by Deb Jacques

 The inside of the salt dome at the Troy Department of Public Works is filled to capacity in the fall of 2018.

The inside of the salt dome at the Troy Department of Public Works is filled to capacity in the fall of 2018.

File photo by Deb Jacques

TROY — City crews and equipment stood ready to clear Troy roadways of up to 8 inches of snow that fell on Nov. 11.

Kurt Bovensiep, the director of the Department of Public Works, said that crews focused on major and industrial roads first, starting to plow local streets in subdivisions after midnight Nov. 11.

The city aims to clear roadways of snow and ice of over 4 inches within 24 hours after snow stops falling.

“We were well prepared,” Bovensiep said. “It’s not unusual to have snow in November. It is unusual to have 6-8 inches to start. The equipment was prepared and ready to go.”

“This is the earliest on record that we received enough accumulation to plow local roads (in subdivisions) Nov. 11,” Bovensiep noted.

Since 2001, the city has serviced all Oakland County roads for snow and ice control, and the county also maintains I-75 and M-59.

As part of the consent agenda Sept. 9, the Troy City Council unanimously approved an agreement with Oakland County in which the county will pay Troy $298,758.63 for winter maintenance of Long Lake, John R, Big Beaver, Crooks, Livernois, Maple, South Boulevard, Dequindre and Adams roads, a 2.5% increase from last year’s stipend.

The material provided to the council in the agenda packet states, “Taking advantage of the MiDeal cooperative purchasing agreement, current pricing for salt is $53.11, which is a 16% increase per ton from last year. However, MiDeal continues to provide this product below industry costs.”

“The (salt) dome is full (from last year),” said Scott Carruthers, city’s operations manager of streets and drains. “It was full right up to the door.”

He added that the city purchased the road salt at the end of the snow season last winter, when the prices were lower.

Carruthers, who has spent time plowing streets, said the DPW staff starts their shift at 7 a.m. On Nov. 11, the crews didn’t stop working until after midnight, an 18-hour day.

“Normally, crews will work up to 12-hour shifts during a snow event,” he said.

The crews used 580 tons of salt Nov. 11-13, spreading the road salt on hills, intersections and curves, then on major roads, then industrial roads, then school routes, then the local roadways. Then they re-salted before temperatures dropped.

Typically, Troy uses 8,000 tons of salt each winter. Calcium chloride was sprayed on the spinners before the road salt was applied to roadways Nov. 12, when temperatures plummeted to the single digits. Carruthers explained that salt doesn’t melt ice under 18 degrees, so calcium chloride, which acts as a catalyst, is needed.

Sensors on the snow removal equipment automatically add the calcium chloride when they detect pavement and air temperatures less than 18-20 degrees, Carruthers said.

He cautioned motorists not to speed around a snowplow, which may be veering wide in adjacent lanes to clear snow.

“Pay attention to what the plow is doing,” he said. “Allow extra travel time for unforeseen snow removal equipment. Leave your phone in your purse or pocket and be patient.”

Also, crews cannot remove the snow that the plow leaves at the end of driveways because then it would take days, not hours, for snow to be removed from city streets, Carruthers said.

People can report things like mailbox damage or other concerns for any city department on a portal on the city website, troymi.gov, or on the smartphone app MITroy, which aims to connect residents to all services, resources and information on the city’s website in a more user-friendly format for smartphones. The free app is available in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

People can use the app to submit requests for services, report code enforcement and pothole concerns, access city departments, provide feedback, and get safety alerts through the CodeRED mobile alerts, a reverse 911 system.

“It’s a good way to reach out and let us know to look into a concern for them,” Carruthers said.