One storm drains over 180 tons
By John Faucher
On Thursday, Feb. 2, New London Street Superintendent Don Goodreau sat inside a large pay loader out in front of an empty salt shed.
“We’re out,” said Goodreau. “I hope they bring some today,” he added, before resuming cleanup in front of the shed. The trucking firm contracted to haul the salt from Green Bay was scheduled to bring 60 tons in later that day.
Goodreau said the “more than memorable” two-day ice storm of Jan. 16-17 took its toll on New London’s municipal salt supply.
“It was the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Goodreau. “It was ridiculous.”
Freezing rain and a wintery mix of snow and sleet quickly froze into a sheet of ice at sundown on Jan. 16.
Waupaca County E911 dispatchers received reports of 23 vehicle crashes in just two hours on Jan. 16. The Sheriff’s Department. communications center received 149 calls that day. Of those calls, 65 were received from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The wintry mix left area highways, streets, sidewalks and parking lots under a layer of dangerous ice for the next several days.
Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department Communications Capt. Rob Karski said the county responded to 39 calls of stranded vehicles on Jan. 16.
Karski said they had a tow ban in effect.
“If the tow companies didn’t have chains they weren’t being allowed out,” he said.
Another 26 calls for vehicles struck on the road came in on Jan. 17, and 10 more on Jan. 18.
Karski said there were a total of 73 storm-related crashes reported in the three days.
Goodreau said the amount of salt used by New London during that week totaled 180.46 tons of salt and another 48.36 tons of salt/sand.
That is more than the city used from May 2015 to May 2016.
The city purchases its salt from Waupaca County, and on average New London purchases 212.42 tons of salt annually, based on numbers dating back to 2009.
Unused salt from the previous winter is stored in the salt shed and added to the next year’s shipment that fall for the coming winter.
Goodreau said the city’s salt shed could hold up to roughly 200 tons.
Some winters are mild and others are severe, like the one in 2013-14 when the city purchased 337.61 tons. Goodreau says the years always seem to balance out, yet this year so far winter seems to have a larger than usual vendetta.
Robert Cloud of the Waupaca County Post contributed to this story.