Snow-fighters keep roads clear and save lives
(BPT) - Snow and ice affect more than 70 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Each winter the average driver in these areas will see more than five inches of snow on the roads. And when the snow is falling there are few things more comforting than the sight of snow plows and salt trucks making highways safe for commuters, shoppers and travelers.
In the Snow Belt, citizens expect roads to always be cleared of snow and ice, no matter how bad the storm, says Bret Hodne, public works director for West Des Moines, Iowa. To help meet those sky-high expectations, Hodne orders salt months before the first snowflake falls. His motto is "don't trust your climate," because if you plan for an average season it's bound to be a record-setting winter of snow and ice.
Snowfighters first began using salt in the 1930s for snow and ice control, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that salt became widely adapted as one of the major weapons to keep winter roads safe. In an average Iowa winter, Hodne's department alone uses 4,000 tons of salt and keeps twice that amount in storage.
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