Winter is Almost Here- It’s Time to Revisit Your Winter Maintenance Strategy

Salt storage facilityWith new environmental regulations and unpredictable climate changes, municipalities are under pressure to expand their current operations or find new salt and sand storage options. Many public works departments have come to embrace the modern design of tension fabric structures. When compared to fabric structures, tarps and traditional wood and metal buildings have failed to meet the challenges of modern business, falling short in versatility, efficiency and economics.

Fabric salt storage buildingTown of Dublin Highway Department Manager, Brian Barden, found that their current salt storage building was no longer meeting their needs, “We outgrew the pole barn and needed a bigger structure. I was looking for something with more height than the pole barn,” he reveals. Luckily Brian was progressive in his search for a new facility and found the versatility the town required in a 45′ wide x 90′ long ClearSpan™ Hercules Truss Arch Building. Brian explains, “We needed a building that they could drive right in, we also wanted to not only use it to store sand and salt, but also equipment.” Without any interior support beams, this structure provided the town of Dublin with the ample height and maximum usable space they needed.

The versatility of fabric structures makes them more efficient storage facilities than traditional options. George Holzapel , Public Works Director for Township of Wayne, NJ, was thrilled with their 65′ wide x 100′ long ClearSpan™ Fabric Structure after years of battling with a tarp. “The tarp had to be removed for access before, or sometimes during, snow or ice events,” George said. “During non-winter periods winds often blew theFabric salt dome tarps off, which then had to be reinstalled,” he added. Operations flow much more easily in a fabric structure. The durable arch design of these structures allows snow to slide right off the roof and sides of the structure. Also, municipalities no longer have to deal with loading and spreading frozen chunks of sand and salt, eliminating wasted man hours.

Fabric structures are cost effective, energy efficient, and low in cost per square foot. Aside from these features, fabric structures are beneficial to municipal budgets in another way. Unfortunately, traditional storage ClearSpan salt storagefacilities do not provide municipalities with enough room to store material for the entire season, often placing them in the position of being reliant upon their material suppliers. Mike Kohl, county engineer for Wyandot County, OH faced this issue but soon realized the hidden cost benefit after purchasing a 72′ wide x 60′ long ClearSpan™ structure. “We are now able to stock up and hold enough material for an entire season,” said Mike. “We are also able to help supply our townships and small villages with material that they would otherwise have no way of storing.”

Current factors like the economy, rising energy costs and public opinion have forced public works departments to reevaluate operating efficiencies. Updating salt storage facilities with a fabric structure is a cost-effective strategy that will reap long-term operational benefits.

What kind of salt storage facility does your city/town use? Maybe it’s time to recommend a fabric structure.

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