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Snow removal crews prep for this storm ... and the next

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Posted at 12:20 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 13:22:13-05

As the second snowstorm in a week looms, snow removal crews in Waukesha are out to finish up some final touches.

Usually before a storm, crews will put down a pre-treatment on the roads. It's those moisturized parallel lines you may see while driving on the roads. It helps prevent the snow from sticking as much to the roads. However, because there was just a storm this past weekend, crews in Waukesha aren't putting down any more.

"There will always be a slight residue of salt left on the road," said Dan Moudry, the shop foreman for Waukesha County. "Not only from rock salt, but liquid application and from when the snow melts. Any of that extra salt, when the water evaporates, stays right on the road. There is some residual still there."

"We will not pre-treat," said Rick Gillis, the Waukesha County supervisor. "We have enough out there, in our opinion. So that will help from the snow adhering for this storm."

It doesn't mean the snow crews got the morning off. As soon as they filled their trucks with salt for later in the day, they got out on the roads to "wing it."

"Winging everything back as far as we can get back so we can make room for this snowfall that will hit us later on today," Gillis said. "We try to get the snow far enough on the shoulder so we can make room for this next 8 to 10 inches that's going to fall. We're actually planning for the next storm. Whatever falls after this one, we want to make sure there's enough room on these shoulders for the rest of the snow that falls."

"We're actually planning for the next storm. Whatever falls after this one, we want to make sure there's enough room on these shoulders for the rest of the snow that falls." — Rick Gillis, Waukesha County supervisor

Gillis showed TODAY’S TMJ4 an example of what they do outside of their headquarters in Waukesha. The plow used its front and wing plows to clear the remainder of the gutter next to a curb and even some of the snowpiles on top of the curb. It pushed back dark, heavy clumps of snow that had been sitting for a few days. Had they just let that snow sit there, it would have really slowed down cleanup efforts.

"Tends to get hard on the shoulders and our wings can't push it," Gillis said. "It will just ride over the top of it. It's really good to prepare for the upcoming storms. Not only this one, but the ones in the future. We're constantly planning ahead."

Their plans are already set for the frigid weekend. Friday and Saturday, the high temperature may only hit single digits. It's too cold for their typical salt brine to be effective. So they use beet juice, which will melt any slick spots.

"We're not only melting ice more efficiently but being environmentally considerate," Moudry said. "So we don't have salt and extra runoff when we don't need it."