There have been problems with icy road in the western part of the state since over the weekend. The city of Williston’s Public Works Department is working to prevent those roads from causing accidents.
“We monitor the icy roads on a daily basis,” says Williston Public Works Director David Tuan. “We have staff on the clock 24/7 so if we notice that there's a icy conditions developing overnight. We get our crews out first thing in the morning before there's traffic.”
The department has six trucks they use for plowing and sanding. One of those trucks is currently in the shop so they have to seek help to finish the whole town.
“With our equipment, we're getting close to 60 percent of it and then we contract out with a private contractor do the rest,” says Dave Bell, who is the maintenance superintendent for the public works department. “All the sanding we do we just contract out to snow removal.”
Several years ago, they used 2,000 tons of sand per year. Since the city has grown, they are using up to 4,000 tons now. That sand is mixed with salt to help with traction.
“We also have liquid brine tanks on our sanders, which we can inject into the sand for when we have severe icing issues,” says Bell. “So we can just basically makes the sand hotter.”
The hotter sand melts the ice and snow faster so the water flows into the drains, which helps with the clean up. The department does believe the sanding and frequent monitoring helps with driver safety.
“We don't have an extremely heavy amount of traffic most days, but uh if you have even just the slightest bit of uh ice on an intersection.” says Tuan. “It can turn into a very dangerous situation very quickly.”
To help with those situations, the department is trying to buy at least two more trucks for next year.
Tuan also says they would like to have a new facility in the northern part of town to help with response times for his drivers.