Weather Updates

Elgin gears up for the coming snow season

For Elgin's snow plow operators last week's blizzard was reminiscent  snowstorm February 2008 when snow accumulated roads as fast

For Elgin's snow plow operators, last week's blizzard was reminiscent of a snowstorm in February 2008, when snow accumulated on the roads as fast as the city could plow them. | File~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 19, 2011 5:22AM

Fall leaf collection season ends Friday in Elgin, so at Wednesday’s city council committee of the whole session, Public Works Director David Lawry talked about the city’s plans for dealing with Mother Nature’s follow-up: snow.

Lawry told the council that this winter, the city will deploy 16 crews on geographically designated residential routes and along four larger super routes along main roads throughout the city. Last winter, there were 19 residential routes and three super routes, Lawry said.

Public works also consulted with the police department on prioritizing pre-treating intersections and stretches of roads more accident-prone in winter weather.

The city now has equipment to make its own brine, which is mixed with beet juice and calcium chloride to treat and de-ice roads. The set-up allows the public works department to make 50,000 gallons of brine a week, which is more than the 40,000 gallons it used all of last winter, Lawry said.

That move allows the city substantial savings not only on the brine mixture, but on the amount of salt it puts down on roads. The city, which has 14,000 tons of salt on hand, went through 10,000 tons each of the last three winters.

As for the central business district, according to a release from the Downtown Neighborhood Association, the plan will be as it was in 2009-2010, when property and business owners took back the responsibility of clearing their own sidewalks.

“The downtown crew’s first priority is to clear the sidewalks around public buildings, such as city hall and the police station, as well as public parking lots and decks. The goal is to have these cleared by 8 a.m.,” the release states.

Their next priority is to clear the crosswalks of intersections and other public spaces, such as DuPage Court, Festival Park and the sidewalks on the bridges. Once all those are cleared, the crew will then clear remaining sidewalk areas until their shift ends at 3 p.m.

“We would like to suggest that downtown business and property owners have your sidewalks cleared from property line to curb line by 9 a.m. following an overnight snow event,” the release states.

Vote on wards still alive

Walking along those cleared sidewalks may be volunteers collecting signatures to get a measure on the April 5 ballot — an advisory referendum asking voters if they would favor Elgin having a council made up of some at-large members and some elected from wards.

Councilman and mayoral candidate David Kaptain suggested the same at the Nov. 17 council session, but was voted down 4-3, with Kaptain and councilmen John Steffen and Rich Dunne in favor and Mayor Ed Schock and councilmen Mike Warren, John Prigge and Robert Gilliam voting against putting the advisory proposal to the voters.

Prior to Wednesday’s meetings, Kaptain said east-side resident Laurie Faith-Gibson Aiello would oversee the petition drive. Groups including the local chapter of the League of Women Voters and the Association for Legal Americans would be involved in the petition drive, Kaptain said. The group would need to collect at least 820 valid voter signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

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