New facility helps crews clear icy roads faster - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

New facility helps crews clear icy roads faster

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PORTAGE COUNTY (WAOW) -

Wisconsin's not far away from having to deal with icy roads.

This year crews in Portage County say they will have an easier time keeping state highways clear.

That's thanks to a new salt storage warehouse located in Junction City.

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation say a new salt storage facility is desperately needed.

"It's really necessary to eliminate the time from getting from the Highway 10 plow routes back to Plover where the other salt storage facility is," said Brent Matthews, operations supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Gary Fletcher, a worker at the salt storage warehouse in Plover, says crews organize the roads in specific arrangements for when they're going out to clear them.

Crews refer to the arrangements as "plow routes."

Fletcher says most of the plow routes take a lot more salt to complete than just one truckload.

"They do run out of salt halfway through their section and they have to come all the way back here reload, then go back over there again so it's expensive and time consuming," said Fletcher.

The new storage warehouse is located 17 miles from the current one and about 10 miles West of Stevens Point on state Highway 10.

Officials tell Newsline 9 that this new addition will shave off about 20 minutes drive time, when trucks need to refill with salt.

Ultimately putting trucks back on icy highways quicker.

"We're going to save money not driving all the way from that side of the county back over here to refill," Fletcher added.

Construction of the new salt storage facility began on Monday.

It will cost around $600,000 and is being paid for by the state.

The new facility will be somewhat smaller than the Plover plant which currently stores 12,500 tons of salt.

State officials say the new salt storage shed is expected to be finished in December.

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