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Extra sand on roads means extra, extra spring work for crews

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By JOHN FLOWERS

ADDISON COUNTY — Local public works crews throughout the county are moving into “spring cleaning” phase to remove a particularly dense layer of sand left over from heavy application to area roads this past winter.

Many Addison County towns at least temporarily ran out of salt during what was a particularly snowy winter. This forced communities to rely more heavily on sand, or a sand-salt mix, during the latter stages of the winter. With the snow now almost gone, many roads are left covered with large mats of sand — especially at intersections — contributing to tire-spins and the pinging of pebbles against vehicle windshields.

Dale Hazzard, highway division chief for the Middlebury Public Works Departments, said the town’s street sweeper is being run through the downtown and subdivisions. The street sweeper has a hopper into which the sand is collected and hauled away.

Middlebury’s rural roads will be swept with a broom tractor, which will push the sand and other debris off to the side.

Meanwhile, Vergennes put its new street sweeper into motion on Monday — but not before using a Bobcat utility vehicle to loosen the gritty sand from the Little City’s roads.

“It’s a really tedious, messy sweeping (process),” City Manager Renny Perry said. “We will probably have to do a couple of revolutions on all the streets.”

Vergennes acquired its street sweeper last year. The city had rented a sweeper in prior years.

In Bristol, Town Administrator Bill Bryant said the local road crew will get to work sweeping as soon as it can rent a sweeper — a hot commodity around this time of year.

“It does seem like we have a lot of dirt on the roads this year,” Bryant said. “We will get started (sweeping) as soon as we can.”

Officials in all three communities said paved roads survived the winter in pretty good shape. They said crews were diligent in cold patching potholes as they surfaced during the winter. Now that spring is here, towns will try to use more permanent “hot mix” to plug current potholes.

“We’ll be using hot mix when the plants open up,” Hazzard said. “If you cold patch during the spring, you’ll be cold patching again in the fall.”

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