After years of discussion, a Salt Dome is now taking shape at the City of New Rochelle Public Works Yard on East Main Street.
The concrete, steel and vinyl structure cost about $350,000 and will hold about 2,500 tons of salt. The City goes through about 7,500 tons of salt per year on average although that figure could come down dramatically now that the salt will be stored properly and kept dry.
Residents can expect an overall improvement in snow removal as a result of the salt dome -- there will be more salt on hand because it is not washed away by the rain, it will spread more evenly because it is not frozen and clumped, it will be distributed on city streets sooner because trucks can be pre-loaded, and it will be distributed more quickly because spreaders will not break down as often.
The Salt Dome was purchased as a result of a series of articles by Talk of the Sound in response to heavy criticism of the New Rochelle Department of Public Works last winter. The subject was raised for years by Council Member Louis Trangucci since he first got on City Council.
Still not addressed is the wide disparity of equipment with other Westchester Municipalities. New Rochelle maintains 180 miles of roads with a maximum of 18 vehicles whereas White Plains maintains 150 miles of roads with 17 salt spreaders and 75 plows. Cortlandt maintains 170 miles of roads with 21 salt spreaders and 50 plows.
But at least the Salt Dome is a start.
DPW Commissioner Alex Tergis is pleased.
At this time last year, over 20 inches of snow had fallen in New Rochelle, he told Talk of the Sound. Loose-leaf collection had not been completed, making snow removal more difficult, and blocking off parking in many parts of the City. This year, under the new leaf policy, all of the leaves have been removed before the first snow storm of the season and there is even a crew out filling potholes, something that proved a major issue last spring.