'Always prepared': Milwaukee DPW says it's ready for winter season

’Always prepared’: Milwaukee DPW says it’s ready for winter season

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Jeffery Smith's wish for the winter season is for it not to snow. Unfortunately, this is Wisconsin, meaning the manager at Milwaukee's Department of Public Works most likely won't get his wish.

"We plan year-round," Smith explained, discussing DPW's preparations for winter weather. "We're always prepared for whatever events."

That was the case Monday as crews treated city roadways, bridges and overpasses with a mixture of salt and brine. On Tuesday, 18 trucks remained on roads throughout the city, continuing to treat bridges and overpasses.

"Because of the raised decks, they are usually the first ones to freeze over," Smith said. "We're just doing a bridge run, so we have roughly 18 (trucks). If we go into what we call a general ice control, we would have over 100."

Each truck can carry between 150 and 300 gallons of brine, according to Smith. The DPW says the city's use of brine has helped limit the amount of salt used. Milwaukee's five-year average from 2013 to 2017 was 57,787 tons. The five-year average now is 36,508 tons. The tons per inch average have also gone down from 1,200 tons per inch to 840 in the last five years.

"The brine is actually an agent that helps the salt activate," explained Smith. "It's actually an additive that helps us get to the salting and melting process quicker."

Smith says the city's salt supply is in good shape for the upcoming season, as are DPW staffing levels.

He shared an important message with drivers as we head into the winter months.

"Anytime, for the first couple events, most people have to go back to kind of understand how to drive with snow on the ground," Smith said. "Make sure that our trucks, if you see them, have room to operate and work, and don't be too close behind them because a lot of time they're plowing or salting, so sometimes they may be either kicking snow back or pushing snow out."

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