Snowstorms in the past three weeks — and the prospect of more in the next couple days — have undone some of the savings enjoyed this mild winter by the people who have to clear our streets. Fort Dodge public works director Frank Farmer says last winter was pretty light on snow, too, though the city’s store of road-salt still got used up. They had quite a few days with freezing rain, which takes a lot of the salt and sand, but saved a lot on overtime. The salt-and-sand mix used on icy or snowy roads was stored by fall but Farmer says it’s nearly gone now. He says there’s 300 tons, not much compared to the 14-hundred tons they started with, and by August he’ll start ordering more since he has to stock up before the season when he’ll need it. While it’s stored out of the rain, the salt will still clump together if too much is kept over the summer months. But in the meantime, Farmer has the upcoming summer season to plan for. Streets he’ll repair, the condition of the pothole-patch machines, taking down snow fence, sewer and sidewalk projects and a lot of curb repair — he says the work of the Public Works Department seems to be never-ending.
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