New salt barn to help clear streets

More than 40 trucks and plows make up the city’s fleet of snow removal and preparedness vehicles. (Submitted photo)

More than 40 trucks and plows make up the city’s fleet of snow removal and preparedness vehicles. (Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

When snow and ice hit this winter, many Noblesville streets should be cleared a bit quicker than in the past with the addition of a second salt barn.

“The people on the east side of Noblesville should see an improvement on their service and response time when winter hits because of the new salt barn,” Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear said. “The new facility is estimated to save our drivers an hour and 15 minutes every time they have to refill.”

The second salt barn, 12575 E. 166th St., was opened Nov. 9 at a cost of approximately $1 million. It holds 5,000 tons of salt. The River Road Salt Barn, 16101 River Rd., was built in 2007 and holds 3,500 tons of salt.

Noblesville is in a buying co-op for salt with other cities in Hamilton Co.

“By having two barns now, we should always be able to take delivery of all of our salt in the off-season,” Noblesville Street Commissioner Patty Johnson said. “That helps tremendously not having to worry about taking crews off the streets to unload orders during the winter or receiving multiple orders.”

Street department employees work 12-hour shifts until the streets are in acceptable condition during storms.

There are 33 plow drivers work with a fleet of 18 pick-ups with plows, five single-axle dump trucks with plows, eight tandem-axle dump trucks with plows and six pick-ups used to spray brine.

Robert Herrington, public affairs manager, said the city has budgeted $350,000 to purchase salt.

An average snowstorm requires approximately 600 tons of salt to cover the entire city.

If there is sufficient notice of pending winter storm, Herrington said pre-treating begins several days ahead. The pre-treating is done with salt brine and rock salt if there is no rain prior to the storm reaching Noblesville. Salt brine is more cost effective than using rock salt and reacts better to the road surface and doesn’t scatter like salt. But salt brine does not work on wet surfaces.

This winter, the city plans to be more active through social media in providing updates to residents when available about plowing and snow removal, Herrington said.

Noblesville does not plow private streets and streets within the shopping center at Hamilton Town Center.

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