Mercer DOT winter weather team gears up for the season

The official start of winter is just days away, but the Mercer County Department of Transportation & Infrastructure began prepping weeks ago by installing spreaders and spinners on the County’s truck fleet, installing snow fencing along County-owned open space, inspecting brine machines, and taking in a new delivery of solar salt, said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. At the beginning of each winter season, 6,000 tons of salt stands ready to be dispersed by a fleet of 60 storm safety response vehicles.

“I’m proud of the fact that the Mercer team is consistently praised for its prompt and efficient snow-removal efforts on the County’s 425 lane miles, and offer this behind-the-scenes look at Mercer’s winter storm plan of attack,” Hughes said.

When ice and snow endanger the safety of the traveling public, many factors are considered as the Highway Division manages the winter driving safety conditions, the County Executive said. Variables weighed include the amount of snowfall; duration and intensity of the storm; meteorological parameters of temperature, humidity and wind force; and availability of appropriate treatment material, staffing and equipment. Through careful analysis, the Highway Division provides the maximum level of service possible to residents of and travelers within Mercer County.

“At the beginning of a storm, de-icing materials are spread first to prevent snow or ice from bonding to the road surface,” explained Hughes. “Depending on the intensity of the storm, plowing operations follow. During a typical snowstorm, it takes approximately 24 to 36 hours to complete service to the entire County roadway system. However, the Highway Division is only responsible for the removal of ice and snow from County Routes and Roadways.”

In addition to snow removal on County roads, Mercer County DOT teams supplement the airport maintenance staff with their snow removal of parking lots and runways, and taxiways, along with snow removal and maintenance of all County buildings, facilities, libraries, CURE Arena, Trenton Thunder Ballpark and more.

How can residents and businesses help? County Executive Hughes advises first creating an emergency kit for the home and car.

Salt truck and plow drivers also require the public’s assistance to help crews be more efficient, he said.

Here are some ways to help keep the truck drivers and motorists safe:

  • Move all vehicles from the street if possible to ensure drivers can clear the snow from the roads more efficiently.
  • When using a snowblower or shoveling a driveway, DO NOT put the snow into the street, especially after a salt truck has plowed the road.
  • Do not try to pass a snowplow or salt truck. Motorists should stay 100 feet back from salt trucks.
  • Roads are plowed by priority. Requests are not taken for specific streets to be plowed.
  • Drivers are always encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel during inclement weather. If they must go out, they should remember that they play a critical role in their own safety and the safety of others when it comes to the speed that they drive. 

“Our goal is to keep roads safe and passable by treating our Mercer County roadways throughout the storm and begin the cleanup process once precipitation stops, and I encourage our residents to be our partners in this process,” Hughes said.

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