You could easily be forgiven if you haven’t put much thought into how or where local road departments store sand and salt that’s been so useful in recent days.
But it’s turned into a $30,000 question for the city of Kenai.
After the city built a new shop for Public Works and other departments a couple years ago, they moved away from using rented space at the airport for things like winter-time road sand and salt.
Those materials used to be stored inside. And moving them outside came with some issues, says Sean Wedemeyer, the city’s public works director.
“We started mixing salt (and sand) and what we found was that really accelerated the corrosion on our sander trucks. So we looked at the cost of renting (the airport space) because we haven’t had any interest from any private firms for leasing that from the airport. We took a look and saw it’s going to be cheaper to store the sand in this heated space owned by the airport than it is to purchase salt, mix it with sand and all the things that go along with that.”
Plus, no matter what you do, some of that big sand pile is going to freeze in winter, right when you need it most. Storing the sand in a warm warehouse cuts the amount of salt the city puts on the streets, according to Wedemeyer.
“Instead of buying salt, we’re going to pay for rent. We had some salt left over from last year and we’re not planning on purchasing any more salt at this time," he said.
The city council will take up a resolution asking for $29,250 to pay for the airport space when it meets Wednesday evening.