Quincy officials approved the funding for a salt shed just in time for the massive storms this winter. But as the region copes with a third weekend of snow this month, the shed has yet to be built.
Councilors unanimously approved the $164,000 for a salt shed last May, giving the thumbs up to building a salt-storage facility in the Department of Public Work’s rear yard.
Though unorthodox, the funding came from the city’s largely untouched snow and ice account from that fiscal year, and would have not only protected the stored salt from the elements, but enabled the city to buy salt in bulk at a lower cost.
Despite promises that the shed would be built before the next snowstorm, technical difficulties at the site have postponed the process, keeping the city from a cold-weather investment that would have proven its worth this winter.
“We had to pre-load [the site],” said DPW Commissioner Daniel Raymondi,
Geotechnical engineers were concerned that the weight of salt would depress the soil, Raymondi said. So before a foundation could be constructed and a shed could be built, the city has had to pre-load the site with dirt to compact everything down.
Though it has taken time, Raymondi said it is still the right direction for the city.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Raymondi said. “We need to protect these valuable assets, and having it sit out in the elements isn’t proper. To be able to purchase well in advance of the rush and have it secured in a shed for this type of storm, so we don’t have to haul during a storm and take time and resources to try to move it, or get a salt supplier to bring it in on the weekend…it’s the right thing to do.”
Raymondi was hopeful the shed could finally be built this construction season, which starts this spring.
In the meantime, the city’s 2013 winter costs are continuing to go up.
In Nemo alone, the city spent $160,000 just on salt. That figure, part of $1.3 million in snow cleanup from the Feb. 8 to 12 ordeal, has already far exceeded the city’s snow budget of $1.25 million this year.
Raymondi wasn’t sure how much the Feb. 17 storm cost the city, but said it was a much lower cost.
While the city copes with snow woes, Raymondi said officials are still learning from the difficulties that took place with the massive snowstorm early this month.
“I think this 27-inch storm, there are a number of matters that were identified that we can improve upon,” Raymondi said. “We will address it with the contractors involved or the next round of contracts, some of these matters may have to built into the contract.”
As for residents who weren’t satisfied with those plowing efforts, Raymondi stressed that the blizzard was a rare occurrence, and said the city is well-equipped to handle smaller storms.
Residents can expect to see curb-to-curb plowing, or curb-to-car in the case of on street parking.
“Those 4,5,6, 8 [inch storms], the system that’s in place can easily manage and handle that,” Raymondi said.