By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
Salt will melt ice as long as the temperatures stay above 25º F. Calcium, when added to the salt, causes a chemical reaction which allows the salt to work to about 15º F. But the calcium and salt combination corrodes the metal in the equipment, so it’s only used as a last resort. “The key is to do everything possible before it gets to 15º,” said West Virginia Division of Highways Hardy County Supervisor Bill Robinette. “After that, we can’t do much of anything.”
Subzero temperatures have made clearing the 514 miles of public roads in Hardy County a challenge for the local DOH crew. But it’s a challenge they are not shirking.
“We’re working around the clock,” said Assistant Supervisor Craig Crites. “The day shift works 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and the night shift works from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m.”
Hardy County has a total of 11 plow and spreader trucks, six in Moorefield and five in Baker.
There are two salt barns, one in Moorefield and one outside Baker. The one in Moorefield holds 350 tons of salt. The one in Baker holds 750 tons. There is also a barn in Moorefield that holds a mix of salt and stone.
The county has two brine-spreaders. One holds 1,000 gallons and the other holds 5,000 gallons. The Hardy County DOH gets its brine from Jefferson County.
“Brine is just salt water,” Crites said. “The salt water sticks to the road.”
“I’d like to get a brine mixer here in Burlington,” said District 5 Supervisor Lee Thorne.
Hardy County is in District 5 which encompasses seven counties – Hardy, Grant, Hampshire, Mineral, Morgan, Berkley and Jefferson. It includes part of Interstate 81 and part of Corridor H.
The 5,000-gallon tanker truck was purchased as surplus and modified to spread the brine.
“Our district is the most pro-active in the state,” Thorne said. “We have some pretty creative mechanics. They took that tanker and modified it with sprayers to spread the brine.”
According to Robinette, the secret to successfully clearing Hardy County roads is sticking to the plan.