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Town Highway Department Reveals New Weapon to Tackle Snowy Streets

Town of Smithtown Highway Department to begin using brine to fight icing streets.

Smithtown Town Highway Superintendent, Glen Jorgensen said at a Kings Park Civic Association meeting held on Thursday evening, that the town had recently purchased a $60,000 spreader to better prepare streets for icing conditions.

The new equipment uses a brine mixture instead of sand to prepare the roads against slippery conditions by using it before a storm. The machine would pre-salt the road with a salt-water solution, leaving behind the salt as the water evaporates. The salt left on the roadway would then help to melt falling precipitation such as snow and ice. Jorgensen noted that sanding would still take place, but not in the quantity that it once did.

“Some sanding will still be needed, but the advantage is we can pre-salt the roads a day or two in advance of a storm and this would be done on straight time, not overtime,” said Jorgensen.

The cost, while pricey in comparison to the $12,000 cost of a standard spreader is expected to be a good return on investment.

“It is expensive to start, but will pay off in the end,” he said.

Jorgensen explained that the new procedure would also less taxing on the environment noting that sand gets into streams and sumps and clogs sewers and that spring clean up will be much quicker. Jorgensen said that typical spring clean up of sand after a winter of sanding takes about six weeks. Brine, he says, cleans up in three.

Other Long Island towns already have the spreaders in use.  The town of Islip currently has the new trucks in place and has already used them this year. Jorgensen said he spent part of the day in Islip watching the trucks in action.

The town will get its first truck in February and plans on ordering more.

“There is $250,000 in the budget for trucks and we have ordered the first and will get more this year,” said Jorgensen.

Residents who were in attendance thanked Jorgensen and the town for their hard work and what they saw as a great job on plowing town roads thus far.

Jim January 22, 2011 at 02:52 AM
I would like to thank the town crew for the great plowing job they have done so far this winter. I just wonder if they use part of the time practicing how to hit garbage pails. In last nights' storm the plow on my street was able to just nudge my pail and by doing so ripped off the handle without even knocking it over. This will make it much harder for the pickup crews to through it the usual twenty feet down the road twice a week.
Anne Kash January 23, 2011 at 04:13 AM
I think they have done a wonerful job on the main roads in Kings Park...BUT...our side street are a mess. Carlson Ave is awful! Henry Street is narrow and did not get snow removal till Tuesday Jan 18th...although on Friday before they worked from 11 pm till 7 am using Henry Street for the dump trucks to pull up to Old Dock Rd to remove the snow from Old Dock Rd...thus... a sleepless night for me. We shall see this Tues/Wed again!
Mary Fjellstad February 10, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Well we would love to see that new equiptment at work on Burlington Blvd we are stranded in our homes since friday and still nothing, new or old!! I would love to see my tax dollars at work
Mary Jane Bennett February 10, 2013 at 10:24 PM
I've lived at the same address on Clubhouse Lane in Nesconset for 35 years. In all past snowstorms, Smithtown's prompt response to road cleanup was better than that of any other town in the county. Even side streets would be plowed during the storms so that accumulation was minimal. What happened this time. There has been no sign of a plow or any kind of snow clearing equipment. It's ridiculous that schools are being closed due to lack of snow removal 2 days after the storm has passed. Something is very wrong with this picture.

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