Icy Roads Call for Sand Loads

feb vtrans thumbnailAROUND THE NEK - The 2017-2018 winter season has definitely been one for the books, with rapid temperature fluctuations creating very icy road conditions, it has made it very hard for Vtrans and road crews to keep the roads safe for travel. Lucky for residents of the Northeast Kingdom, they are up to the task.


"We've had to use a lot more sand than in years past." said long-time road maintenence supervisor Gary McGinnis, "With such rapid weather changes melting the snow, changing it to water, then it refreezing and turning to ice, it has rendered salt almost completely useless. So we've began using sand to soak up that moisture and also give drivers traction."

Although the use of sand has been questioned for the negative effects that it has on the environment, residents do not deny that sand has worked great in the past few weeks for getting water off the roads and getting cars up steep hills. "We don't like using sand for what it does to the environment," said McGinnis, "but when it comes to creating a safe driving environment for residents, there isn't a whole lot that we can do; we want our travelers to be safe on our roads."

The good news for Vtrans and the road maintenence crews of the area is that residents know how hard they work to keep the roads clear, and their services are well-appreciated. "I think that we are very fortunate to have them (Vtrans)" said Deb Rynolds, a resident of Lyndonville, "they are up to the task of keeping roads clear, this is a good old-fashioned winter so they are use to it and they are up to it."

Another local resident, Tim Kirchofm says that he has no worries about traveling on Vermont roads in the next few days as another snow storm is due to hit the Northeast Kingdom on Wednesday. "I'm not too worried about the snow coming Wednesday, Vtrans hopefully has some more salt stored away due to the warmer temperatures from the past few weeks, plus they've seen a lot worse."

It's always good to have competent road crews working to keep travel safe, but it is something so much sweeter when you can observe the trust and confidence that local residents have for their road crews.

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