Ocean County Press Release
WITH THE SEASON'S FIRST SNOW POSSIBLE THIS WEEKEND,
OCEAN COUNTY IS WINTER-READY
TOMS RIVER - Ocean County officials say the County road crews, buildings and grounds and other departments are ready for whatever Mother Nature throws its way.
"With forecasters saying there's a possibility of snow this weekend, we want our citizens to know Ocean County is well prepared for winter weather – whenever it gets here," said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Road Department.
For instance, the Ocean County Road Department and Bridge Departments can mobilize a fleet of more than 200 trucks and other vehicles and about 175 employees to salt and clear roads when the weather turns bad.
Crews spend their time readying salt spreaders and making sure enough plows are attached to trucks.
Snow clearing usually first entails brining the 1,600 plus lane miles of county roads by spreading a mixture of road salt and water.
"Brine is a cost-effective way of keeping snow from piling up on the roads," said county Road Supervisor Scott Waters. "Coating the road surface with brine before the snow starts falling makes it easier to plow later.
At about 8 or 9 cents a gallon, it's also much cheaper than liquid calcium.
The county mixes brine at three 10,000-gallon tanks located at garages in Plumsted, Toms River and Stafford townships.
Six tanker trucks deliver the mixture. The largest truck, a 5,500-gallon tractor-trailer, can cover Route 539 in brine from Plumsted to Tuckerton and back, Waters said.
While brine is an excellent option for storms where forecasts call for the precipitation to begin as snow, it doesn't work for storms that begin as rain and later change to snow.
"The rain washes it away very quickly," Waters said.
The county is prepared with 30,000 tons of treated salt.
"This winter we will use salt treated with calcium chloride," Waters said. "We anticipate this will do a better job when we are clearing snow and ice."
If enough snow falls to warrant plowing, the first of the county roads to be cleared are the 500 series, which includes such main roads as Hooper Avenue in Toms River Township, and Route 571, which travels through Toms River Township to Jackson Township. In Southern Ocean County, those roads include Route 539.
"We start with these main roads and work our way to the secondary roads," Waters said.
The Ocean County Road Department is also responsible for clearing all the county parking lots including the vocational-technical centers, the resource centers, Transportation Department, and libraries.
The Road Department is assisted by other county departments including Solid Waste Management, Buildings and Grounds and Parks and Recreation.
"It's a cooperative effort on the part of the County to make certain our residents are safe," said Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines. "The cooperation makes for a much smoother and efficient operation."
The Ocean County Department of Buildings and Grounds is responsible for clearing snow and ice from the County's 135 government buildings.
Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as chairman of Consumer Affairs, said residents should be prepared ahead of time when it comes to bad weather.
"The time to think about driving in the snow and ice is before those conditions arise," Vicari said.
One of the most important things any car owner can do to be safe is to ensure that your vehicle has properly inflated tires designed to be driven over snow and ice. Tire pressure usually lowers itself in winter and raises itself in summer. Under inflated tires can cause a car to react more slowly to steering. Every time the outside temperature drops ten degrees, the air pressure inside your tires goes down about one or two PSI.
Another important consideration for safe vehicle operation on snow and ice is to slow down, said Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Kelly.
Accelerating at a slow even rate during these conditions will give you the best chance for a smooth start. Slow driving will also assist when you need to brake, said Kelly, who is also Director of Law and Public Safety.
"How many times do you see a driver off the road and on the shoulder or spun around during wintery weather? It's almost always a case of driving too fast for conditions or attempting to brake the car too sharply," Kelly said.
It is also a good idea to keep some foul weather equipment in the trunk. A small shovel, emergency cat litter for traction, an emergency blanket and window de-icing spray can be lifesavers.
"Although driving in winter conditions can be challenging, a little planning and attention to detail will go a long way to make sure you arrive safely at your destination." Kelly said.