Here is what it takes to clear snow in the City of Hamilton

Representatives of the City of Hamilton’s public works department say they are prepared for clearing roadways this winter.

Director of Public Works Jim Williams introduced members of his department who presented the snow clearing plan to Hamilton City Council on Dec. 1. They said each of the 10 official routes covered by drivers throughout the city are anywhere from 50 to 53 miles long. During a snow event, drivers work 12-hour shifts if necessary.

There are enough workers to rotate and make sure folks don’t go beyond a 12-hour shift and that they can get rest.

Seventeen Hamilton city trucks are in use during a full shift, including 10 route trucks, four tandem trucks with wing plows, two trucks for narrow streets with double parking and parking lots and one crew leader truck that is used to assist where it is needed.

Two or three trucks are kept in reserve in case the others endure mechanical issues, and there is one loader operator to load salt.

Crew Leader Chris Miller, who has been with the public works department for 28 years, told council the first step is to assess the ground temperature.

“The ground temperature is different than the air temperature,” Miller said.

Another step they take is to “pre-wet” the salt. If the temperature outside is 32 degrees or higher, they throw salt on the ground.

“If it gets a little colder than that, we ‘pre-wet’ the salt with calcium chloride, which basically activates the salt even more,” he said.

Pre-wetting saves about 20 percent in costs to the city because it helps keep salt in the middle of a road instead of compacting on the sides.

Eddie Welch, who has worked with the city for 11 years, said the plow routes are broken down into primary and secondary routes.

Primaries include main roads, bridges and main hills. Plows move snow from the center to the curb, Welch said.

In times of extremely heavy snowfall, the primary roads stay a priority until it lightens up. He said the public could assist by staying indoors during major snow events, and for those who go out, please give plow drivers plenty of room and do not follow them closely.

Folks who live on narrow streets are advised to move vehicles to garages. But he says one of the lesser-known difficulties is when folks who own snow blowers move their snow out to the roadways.

The public works department also addressed mailbox damage, which they said occurs inadvertently every year. Drivers try hard to avoid hitting boxes. If one is struck, a city official will visit the home or building to assess the need and replace the mailbox.

Click here to watch the update presented to Hamilton City Council members.

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