‘Salt early, salt often:’ Public works crews prepare roads for dropping temps, freezing rain

WEST BEND -- Freezing rain on Thursday, Feb. 7 and with colder temperatures on the way, it's recipe for disaster. To make matters worse, some of the people tasked with dealing with it are running low on supplies.

"There's easy days, there's hard says," said Aaron Rodman, Extra Mile Snow Plowing.

For Aaron Rodman, the owner of Extra Mile Snow Plowing in West Bend, winning over the freezing rain is calculated only by the amount of salt you can fit on your plow.

"Today is one of those days where there's going to be a long list of customers who no matter what you do, they're kind, but expectations of bare pavement aren't going to be met," said Rodman.

Staying on top of the forming ice for Rodman's customers requires nonstop work.

"Rain washes away the salt faster than it can work," Rodman said.

Since the start of the year, crews have gone through roughly 700 tons of salt. All that's left is just 60 tons to get them through their next shipment.

"It's an interesting year this year. Two of the three main suppliers to the Milwaukee port didn't supply this year," said Rodman.

A problem of supplies that thankfully isn't impacting the West Bend Public Works Department.

"Our game plan is to get out there and get after it. Salt early, salt often," said Steve Allar, West Bend Public Works Department.

A strategy for keeping the city ice free: don't stop pouring down salt.

"Guys came in this morning, we went out with a full crew and started salting the whole city," Allar said.

If all goes according to plan, next time you hop in the car, you won't notice a difference in your commute.

An interesting problem for public works crews is that a lot of the main roads are on big hills; crews have been giving those spots extra attention to keep drivers safe and on the road.

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