Ryan Sinclair, front, and Bill Kruger, back, mechanics for the city of Troy, work on replacing the springs on this salt truck to ensure it’s winter-ready.

Ryan Sinclair, front, and Bill Kruger, back, mechanics for the city of Troy, work on replacing the springs on this salt truck to ensure it’s winter-ready.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Troy crews, equipment stand ready to battle Old Man Winter

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 13, 2018

 Jess Hein, a mechanic for the city of Troy, checks out the brakes on this truck at the Department of Public Works garage Nov. 8.

Jess Hein, a mechanic for the city of Troy, checks out the brakes on this truck at the Department of Public Works garage Nov. 8.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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

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

Photo by Deb Jacques

Advertisement

TROY — City crews start in August to ensure that equipment is ready for Old Man Winter.

“The equipment is in good shape,” said Brian Varney, fleet operations manager for the city of Troy. Troy operates and maintains 125 pieces of snow equipment, including 47 trucks.

“Last year was a good year with limited breakdowns due to the prep,” he said, crediting the “good people, who are licensed technicians, who keep the trucks on the street.”

Two new standard snowplow trucks, which cost about $60,000 each, are scheduled to be delivered in coming weeks.

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

As part of the consent agenda Aug. 27, the Troy City Council unanimously approved an agreement with Oakland County in which the county will pay Troy $291,471 for winter maintenance of Long Lake, John R, Big Beaver, Crooks, Livernois, Maple, Dequindre and Adams roads, as well as South Boulevard, a 2 percent increase from last year’s stipend.

Kurt Bovensiep, Troy public works director, explained in information supplied to the council that over the last 16 years, the city has spent an average of about $105,273 more annually clearing county roads than what the county has provided.

“It is evident that this agreement is beneficial to the residents, businesses and traveling public concerning the level and timeliness of service,” Bovensiep stated.

The 2018-19 city budget for snow and ice control on all roadways is $1.9 million.

The city utilizes a cooperative purchasing agreement through MiDeal to purchase road salt for the current price of $45.80 per ton, a 44 percent increase per ton from last year’s cost of $31.74 a ton, but still a price reduction.

MiDeal is an extended purchasing program that allows local units of government to use state contracts to buy goods and services at a lower price.

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

“The (salt) dome is full (from last year),” said Scott Carruthers, city operation manager of streets and drains. “We filled it as much as we possibly could, anticipating the price increase.”

Carruthers, who said he’s spent time plowing streets, advised motorists to “give the salt truck leeway.”

He said that all the trucks have signs on the back advising motorists to stay back, but the signs often get covered in snow. “Take a deep breath and slow down. It’s not a time to be passing.”

“The primary focus are main roads, school bus routes and industrial roads,” Carruthers said.

He explained that the snowplow drivers are unable to plow driveways and do not try to fill driveways with snow when they plow streets. Crews salt the hills, intersections and curves as the first plan of attack in subdivisions, he said.

During a major snow event, crews work 12-hour shifts. “Don’t park on the street during a snow operation,” Carruthers said. “It helps us do a better job.”

Advertisement