Launch Slideshow

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Designing on a dime

Designing on a dime

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    Not many private fleets specify and repair anything and everything from a sewer rodder to a fogger, a brush cutter to a hydraulic crane, an asphalt recycler to a pontoon boat. This piece of specialized equipment belongs to the City of Hollister in California, one of the subjects of our cover story beginning on page 28. Photo: Nick Lovejoy Photography

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    Behind the truck: A boom made of PVC pipe and positioned behind the tailgate allows trucks to be used for anti-icing brine applications and/or salt spreading. Although prewetting in the auger is now thought to be more effective, the boom can also be used to prewet salt at the spinner. Photo: Harvey Williams

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    Inside the auger: When salt is wet before it's applied to pavement, it starts melting ice upon contact. Applying brine solution to salt within the truck's auger with a prewet device like this keeps granules from blowing away in the wind or bouncing onto roadsides. Photo: Mike Scaramella

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    Suburban-Chicago employee Matt Bartlett spent $2,300 to build this 300-gallon anti-icer. He designed the unit to be lifted into a standard pickup truck and removed when the vehicle's needed for something else. Photos: Harvey Williams

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    New Jersey Superintendent Steven Alexander spent $700 to convert this former fire tanker to an anti-icing vehicle with a driver-regulated spray boom. Photos: Steven Alexander

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    The driving force behind the brine system: a gas-powered centrifugal pump pressurizes the system and circulates the brine to the boom at the back of the truck.

Applying brine to streets before a storm hits to keep ice from forming, or prewetting salt so it sticks to the road and melts ice more effectively, doesn't necessarily require new equipment.

Retired after 32 years with Illinois DOT, Harvey Williams provides training, systems, equipment, and supplies through his consulting company, Concept to Project Management. He draws on his experience as a field technician, district safety manager, and in highway maintenance operations to help cities and counties improve winter maintenance without blowing their budgets.

We spoke with two of his clients about inexpensive equipment modifications that significantly improved their operation's capabilities. You can talk to Williams yourself at 815-261-4806 and harveywilliams600@comcast.net.

Or catch him at the American Public Works Association's North American Snow Conference April 29 through May 2 in Milwaukee. As a member of the association's Winter Maintenance Subcommittee, he'll lead a discussion group for small agencies to share their experiences using winter liquids, reducing chloride loading, and maintaining service despite ever-decreasing budgets.