As some northern states struggle to cope with record snowfall, Newton County is slated to receive more than $22,000 of plow and sanding equipment that should improve services and help avoid costly and dangerous accidents.
Last year’s severe winter storm, dubbed “snowpocalypse,” cost the county $350,000 over two and a half days, expenses that included a wrecked fire truck that hit a patch of ice and slid off the road.
“A lot of what we did last year was run in front of the fire trucks and that one hit a patch of ice and I think equipment like this could have prevented that from happening,” Transport Director Aaron Wadley said. “I think having some good equipment to get fire trucks and ambulances where they need to go is our most important job in a snow storm.”
Thousands of dollars also went to pay for labor, including overtime for workers working extra shifts to spread salt and sand by hand
“You can’t get too far with them and it takes a lot of time. The truck outfitted with this big spreader will be able to go longer distances…in less time, with fewer refills,” Wadley said, adding that the county maintains some 700 miles of roads.
The plow blade will also help the county avoid using a motor grader, which can damage the road leading to more repairs.
The Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of the equipment using 2011 SPLOST funds. $19,350 will be paid to the Godwin company in North Carolina to outfit a large flatbed truck with a removable plow blade and salt spreader, as well as the necessary hydraulic controls. J&M Fasteners, a local company, will receive $3,138 to outfit another truck with a sand/salt spreader. Wadley estimated that the equipment would be received sometime around the end of the year.