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.