In Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, snow and ice control responsibilities have been outsourced to private sector crews for the last decade. Last year, when locally based Steed & Evans won a two-year contract to perform 750 miles of maintenance, it looked for ways to keep the roads safe and its costs low. One of the ideas was to complement its large snow plowing equipment with smaller units to serve as a first line of defense against cold-weather hazards.
It updated seven service pickup trucks by outfitting them with air and ground temperature detection equipment and tailgate spreaders from Warren, Mich.-based SnowEx. During winter, snow control crews patrol each road once daily. As they patrol, looking for icy patches on the roads, operators also monitor the outdoor air temperature and ground temperature for conditions that may be conducive to ice formation.
The 9-cubic-foot spreaders distribute salt, sand or a combination of both, depending on conditions. From inside the cab of the truck, operators can adjust the material spreading rate and width, and the units hold enough material to treat a couple of troublesome bridge decks before needing to be refilled. “When patrols encounter problem areas, the spreaders can take care of the problem immediately,” says Ken Lang, assistant manager of the area maintenance contract. “Though we might still have to call in a larger truck, the tailgate units provide us with a quick, first response.”
When conditions are really bad, an ongoing patrol is required. Though major winter maintenance requires large vehicles to be in full force, the pickup patrol’s tailgate spreaders still play a part. “In the heart of winter, tailgate spreaders definitely act as a useful tool for spot maintenance,” Lang says. “If our guys come across a small slippery spot, they can take care of it themselves. Additionally, it works great for accidents. We can drive to the scene immediately, salt it and try to prevent a future accident before we can coordinate a more complete fix.”
Project: Small area ice control
Jurisdiction: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Vendor: Warren, Mich.-based SnowEx, and Kitchener, Ontario-based Steed & Evans Ltd.
Cost: SnowEx SP-1875 tailgate spreader MSRP: $2,699 each (without cost of mount)