Mixing it up

Using the right salt brine mix to combat snow and ice can be tricky. How do you come up with a mixture that works at low temperatures while remaining cost-effective? Two agencies will discuss their blending experiments during The Ins and Outs of Blending Salt Brine (Sunday, Sept. 10, 2 to 2:50 p.m.). Mark DeVries, superintendent for the McHenry, Ill., County Division of Transportation will discuss how his agency tinkered with different chemicals, ultimately creating a three-deicer blend called Supermix and winning a 2006 Technical Innovation Award from APWA's Chicago Metro Chapter. “The system takes operator error out of the mix, and we reduced filling time in our trucks,” he says.

Joining in the discussion will be Bret Hodne, superintendent of the department of public works in West Des Moines, Iowa; he will relate how his agency—inspired by McHenry's success—has experimented with blending and using computerized controls. “With the reduced or tight budgets that many agencies have to work with, finding more economical ways to effectively handle winter storms has some real merit,” says Hodne.

More education

Monday, Sept. 11, 10 to 10:50 a.m.

From the Shovel to the Plow

For agencies finding it hard to wrestle with staffing their snow and ice operations, training may be the key. Representatives from Milwaukee will share their experiences in working to fully staff their snowplow team. This session suggests that training existing labor and managerial staff could help municipalities complement their snow-fighting efforts.

Monday, Sept. 11, 11 to 11:50 a.m.

Automatic Spreading—Science Fiction or Modern Technology?

The concept of automatic spreading may sound implausible to some, but the technology has been implemented successfully in Europe, and one North American agency harnessed it during the winter of 2005–2006. The system determines how much salt to spread, enabling the driver to focus on plowing.

On the show floor Extreme-duty plow

Henke Manufacturing Corp., Booth 2501

The Tube Table snowplow—suitable for rugged applications—has a 5x5x3/8-inch tubular reversing table and an extremely tough reversing mechanism. A six-spring tripping mechanism allows the moldboard to pass over obstacles and automatically return to the plowing position. www.henkemfg.com.Circle 1.

Quick-attach plow

Air-Flo Manufacturing, Booth 204

Quick Silver snow plows come in two versions: one with a moldboard constructed of 304 stainless steel, and another made of 11-gauge stainless steel with seven laser-cut stainless-steel ribs and two full-length braces. The quick-attach mounting feature lets the driver attach or disconnect the plow in seconds. The plows fit on trucks from ½ to 1 ton. www.air-flo.com.Circle 2.