Highway manager explains how winter weather has impacted the county

Elkhart County highway manager Jeff Taylor explains how recent winter weather has impacted his department.

Posted on Feb. 7, 2014 at 6:58 p.m.

GOSHEN — Recent winter weather has been taking a toll on the Elkhart County Highway Department’s supplies and older equipment, according to highway manager Jeff Taylor.

Taylor updated members of the Elkhart County Council and the Elkhart County Board of Commissioners at a joint meeting Friday, Feb. 7.

“While it’s fresh in everybody’s mind, if you didn’t notice, we’ve had a little bit of snow this year, and we are wearing out some old trucks,” Taylor said.

But that’s not all.

“If you go to our salt sheds now, you’d pull up and go, ‘Where’s all the salt?’” Taylor said. “It’s ordered. We’re waiting for it. We’ve been backing off on the amount of salt. When you don’t put salt on the roads, they start looking like they do today, especially when it’s zero and salt doesn't really work.”

Taylor said highway crews have been using a mixture of sand and salt on county roads.

“We’re trying to do a balancing act with the money we have, the available salt, manpower and that sort of thing, so when you see that out there, and you think well gee, we can do better, we can do better, but hold on to your pocketbooks. Other communities are running out of salt, but I can still buy salt.”

The county has a contract to buy salt for $55 a ton.

The county has hired contractors to help plow subdivisions this winter. The commissioners approved $100,000 earlier this week for snow removal efforts.

Homeowners have even pitched in by plowing subdivisions streets, Taylor noted.

County councilman David Hess praised the highway department’s work over the past month.

“Your level of service is much higher than what it was many years ago, and people have come to expect that,” Hess said. “When I was a kid, if you saw a snow plow every two or three days, that was about when somebody might come through.”

Taylor said it is the highway department’s goal to have all subdivisions plowed within 48 hours of the last snowfall. The department posted messages on its Twitter and Facebook accounts this week asking homeowners to report any subdivisions that still needed to be cleared by calling 533-0538.

Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.


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