def #248 12/16/10
OCEAN COUNTY READY TO HANDLE SNOW
WHEN THE snow starts to stick, rest assure Ocean County Road Department crews will be out in force to clear roads and assist motorists in their efforts
to get around.
"With the official start of winter a few days away we are already seeing snow," said Ocean County Freeholder Director James F. Lacey, who serves as
liaison to the Ocean County Road Department. "We are ready in Ocean County for whatever the upcoming winter brings with it."
The county currently has on hand 24,500 tons of salt and 30,000 gallons of liquid calcium along with 30,000 gallons of brine.
Road department workers constantly make new brine in order to replace what is used. Brine is a mixture of salt and water that is sprayed on the roadways
before snow or ice can accumulate.
"Weíve been doing this for a few years now and it has helped in the snow removal process," Lacey said. "Of course some of the best advice to motorists
when it comes to bad weather is be patient and take it slow. Leave yourself plenty of time to get where you are going and if you donít have to go, stay
off the roads."
During a major snowstorm Ocean County, at any given time, has roughly 113 pieces of equipment on the roads in addition to the private contractors that
are called in to assist with salting and plowing operations.
The first of the county roads to be plowed are known as 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," said Ocean County Road Supervisor Stephen F. Childers.
Childers noted that the approach taken by the road department to clear the roadways is based on what the weather has brought to the area.
Winter storms in Ocean County can be very unpredictable. The inland area of the county may get hit with snow, while the coastal area may see more ice
and flooding. Weather in the southern portion of the county may be nothing like what is happening in the northern areas.
"Our road department crews have to react to many different scenarios always focusing on the bottom line of keeping the roads safe," Lacey said. "Icing
and freezing rain is often the more difficult elements to deal with in the winter months.
"The worst case scenario is when bad weather starts as rain and changes over to ice or snow because of an abrupt drop in temperature," he noted. "This
causes black ice and motorists donít realize how dangerous this is."
When surfaces are coated with black ice, the county uses salt and calcium to melt some of the ice but more specifically to provide added traction for
The county has about 87 trucks that can be used for salting and plowing and about 30 pieces of equipment that can be used just for plowing. Loaders,
skid steers and dozers are also called into action to help fill trucks with salt and for other snow removal operations.
Liquid calcium is sprayed on the salt from spray bars located at each of the county garages.
Even though the county has not added miles to its road network it has added width making plowing of widened roads like County Line Road in Jackson
Township and Chambers Bridge Road in Brick Township a little more difficult because there are more lanes to handle.
"There is about 1,500 lane miles in Ocean County," Lacey said. "This is the largest county road system in the state."
The department is also responsible for clearing all the county parking lots including the vocational-technical centers, the resource centers,
Transportation Department, and libraries.
Childers noted the Road Department is assisted by other county departments including Solid Waste Management and Parks and Recreation.
"Itís a cooperative effort on the part of the County to make certain our residents are safe," said Freeholder Lacey. "The cooperation makes for a much
smoother and efficient operation."
Childers also requested that residents be patient when it comes to bad weather.
Residents can assist the clearing operations by not shoveling snow into the road as they clear driveways.
"Adding fresh snow on top of salted snow prevents it from draining properly," Childers said. "When the temperature drops at night, the fresh snow also
is more prone to freezing, causing dangerous road conditions. Large piles of snow dumped into the street can impede drainage flows, cause sight
obstructions and create unsafe traffic patterns."
Lacey noted it was important for everyone to work together when it comes to keeping safe on the roadways.
"Winter driving can pose a number of challenges," Lacey said. "We make certain the county roads are safe, motorists need to make certain they drive them