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Highway Department out on Island roads ahead of storm

Major Island roads were treated with salt to melt the snow, and sand was laid down for traction last night, Highway Superintendent Brian Sherman told the Reporter early this morning.

Trucks were laying down more salt and sand before sunrise as snow fell. “There’s not enough snow on the ground to plow yet,” Mr. Sherman said.

As for how much snow he expected, Mr. Sherman said, “I honestly don’t know. The forecast keeps changing.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning for the region, calling for 1 to 3 inches of snow over night, and 2 to 4 inches this morning.

Mr. Sherman said his department was not using beet juice  to treat roads, as it has in the past. Beet juice has been used  as an alternative to salt, since it lowers the freezing point of water and is safer than salt for the environment.

But Mr. Sherman said the juice the Department had in stock “went bad and we threw it out. It also doesn’t impact the way we thought it would, and it’s so expensive. So we’ll save some money and see how it goes.”

The NWS is calling for a cold day, with a high temperature of 37 degrees, but a north wind at 14 to 20 mph will bring wind chill values of between 15 and 25 degrees.

When enough snow has fallen on major Island roads, Mr. Sherman said crews will be out plowing.

(Credit: Don Bindler)