Houghton Road Commission Preps

Houghton–Parts of the Keweenaw Peninsula saw a mix of rain and snow showers during Thursday mornings commute. This year budget cuts are impacting how road departments spend.

The Houghton county road commission is trying to do more off less. On average they spend $2.2 million dollars a year just removing snow. That can be hard to do when the total budget is only $5 million. Regardless they are ready to shovel the estimated 20 mile wide coverage area of Houghton County. There are 850 miles of roads to cover in Houghton County.

The road commission repaves roads during summer and clears snow all winter. Hancock is home to a salt dome which houses a mountain of snow.  Houghton County will go through 15-hundred tons of salt in one season. There are four other garages like this throughout the area.

Kevin Harju is the county engineer and says, “We primarily use the salt to blend in with our sand that we use in the winter region. It’s about a three to five percent mix.”

They will use 10-thousand yards of sand annually, so they keep a mountain on hand too. Thursday the men at work spend time maintaining the 15 salt trucks that patrol Houghton County, putting wings and under blades on, and making sure the tires are good. They say the lake effect determines how much snow we will see. While temperatures have been warmer lately they remind drivers to slow down and be aware of what road conditions are each day.