In 2022 York DPW responded to 13 severe winter storm events in addition to the typical daily weather conditions expected throughout the winter season. To help keep our roads safe and drivable last year, York DPW purchased over 4,000 tons of road salt.
Sodium chloride (NaCl), or road salt, remains the most used and most cost-effective material for clearing roads. However, when it’s really cold, sodium chloride loses effectiveness at temperatures below 15 degrees F. Salt used with physical snow removal (plowing) remains the dominant winter snow and ice road treatment method throughout the state of Maine.
Some communities may add sand to help increase traction and prior to 2006, it was standard to treat roads with a salt and sand mix. Since then both MaineDOT and Maine Turnpike Authority have discontinued sand use on state roads for environmental and cost reasons. Sand has no melting properties and washes off the road to fill culverts and impact surface waters, and it can contribute to particulate emissions in urban areas as it is blown. The cost of cleaning up the excess sand in the spring can be high. Therefore, sand use has declined both statewide and nationwide.
York DPW plow operators are on call 24/7 during storms to remove snow and ice, often working through the night so you can get where you need to go the next day. Major arterial roadways, hills and intersections are often treated before plowing operations begin, usually when 2” of snow falls.
Our Plow teams concentrate first on major roadways and connectors to move traffic along before heading into residential areas. Each Plow Driver has a specific route that they salt/plow for every storm. Each route takes approximately three and a half hours to complete and our crews respond 24/7 to all winter events.
A report presenting the results of a survey sent to Maine municipalities on winter road maintenance was recently made available. The time frame of the report focuses on 2019-2020 and was part of a broader research project conducted by the University of Maine in cooperation with the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) to examine winter road maintenance practices, changing winter weather patterns, environmental impacts and winter road safety.
Highlights of the report include the following:
Within Maine there are 483 towns and cities, three reservations, and 10 counties with responsibility for winter road maintenance in Maine. These entities are responsible for 18,283 centerline miles of road (36,729 lane miles) or approximately 80% of the state total roadway. York has 133 centerline miles (the total length of a given road from a start point to an end point) and 300 lane miles (The length of the roadway (i.e. centerline miles) multiplied by the number of through lanes).
The report showed some clear, broad patterns throughout the state. By far the most widely used material on winter roads in Maine is rock salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of handling. York DPW’s annual budget includes money for 7,000 tons of road salt annually.
The Town of York - Department of Public Works website does not contain data intended for use by investors, audited financial statements can be found on the SEC EMMA website or by visiting the Finance Directors page at Yorkmaine.org