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Public Works

Winter Preparedness Operations

During anticipated snow events, the Public Works Department closely monitors the latest weather information, road temperatures, and radar data to determine when it will be necessary to dispatch salt crews. Crews are dispatched once radar data indicates precipitation is imminent and road temperatures are at or approaching 32 degrees.

Metro Public Works has:

  • a combined total of about 30 pieces of winter weather equipment, including snowplows, salt trucks, and brine trucks;
  • Metro Public Works has several new trucks with liquid pre-wet systems for faster salt activation.
  • six backup trucks;
  • more than 8,000 tons of salt inventory on hand, stored at three different locations in the county;
  • about 100,000 gallons of liquid anti-icing/salt brine, with the capacity to quickly mix more, if needed;
  • 20,000 gallons of calcium which aids in melting snow and ice in frigid temperatures
  • well-prepared work crews

Liquid Anti-Icing/Salt Brine Information

Liquid anti-icing consists of a salt brine application method that is used as a proactive, preventive measure to keep snow from bonding to the road’s surface. Metro first introduced salt brine application during the winter of 2001, and found that it resulted in excellent clearing of roadways once the snow started falling.

Salt brine is granulated salt that is diluted in water. Since it is diluted with water, the salt adheres to and stays on the roadway prior to any winter weather accumulation. It can be applied hours ahead of an anticipated event, providing more immediate, increased safety for motorists driving on Metro’s roadways once accumulation begins. Regular granulated salt, when applied before snowfall, would usually just be swept away by traffic.

In addition, Public Works is able to use less salt to clear the roadways when salt brine is used compared to applying only regular granulated salt. The salt brine pre-treatment can be applied during normal working hours, thereby saving overtime expense. Salt brine is less expensive, which allows for significant savings in materials and overall maintenance cost.

About the DICKEY-john ICS2000 Ice Control System

Metro Nashville Public Works is equipped with computerized salt spreader controllers and snow removal equipment.

An ice control system is installed in all snowplows. This system provides total automatic control of the salt spreader. The flow of the salt varies automatically in proportion to changes in ground speed so the application rate remains uniform. This allows cost savings by using the least amount of products. It also keeps salt from unnecessarily reaching our groundwater supply. This process has the least negative effect on the environment.

Our Crews

“Our snowplow operators become the most visible members of the department at this time of the year,” says Public Works Superintendent Phillip Jones. “Their work directly impacts the lives of thousands of motorists, and without their efforts the high levels of safety and mobility we expect from our streets and roads division would not be possible.”

Public Works in the News

Preparing for Winter Storms: Planning Pays Off, by Phillip Jones, TPWA March/April vol33No.7