Eau Claire happy with state of Hastings Way this winter without using salt

By: Matt Hoffman Email
By: Matt Hoffman Email

Eau Claire, Wis. (WEAU) -- Salt hasn't touched the surface of Hastings Way this winter, in an effort to protect the new concrete. So how are the city and public reacting to a salt free Hastings Way?

"Fine...it's been fine," says Audre Sumner of Eau Claire

But other people I talked to today said the roads can be slick at times like early this morning.

"There have been very few complaints about Hastings Way. We've received more positive comments about the use of sand and how it’s more friendly to the environment."

Steve Thompson, Eau Claire streets manager, says their plan of action for Hastings Way has been quite successful.

"We've made the effort to have an additional truck that just takes care of that section from the Eau Claire River south to Clairemont so that has helped and that truck has been equipped with plain sand that is not treated with salt."

He also says the higher traffic volume also helps keep Hastings less slippery during wintry weather. Even our light icing events didn't have many consequences.

"It was more of a film and once we got out there with some sand and got some sand on it. It seemed to take care of it," says Thompson.

Mother Nature hasn't exactly tested Hastings way this winter. The most snow we've seen in one day has only been three inches. But with a potentially larger winter storm in the forecast, Thompson says no matter what they'll be ready.

"The ones that worry me are the more heavier ice and freezing rain built up on the surface. The larger snowfall we would continue to just plow and push it off to the sides of the road and try to keep traffic moving," says Thompson.

Thompson says they have learned a lot from the Hastings Way salt restriction and are looking into methods to use less salt for all their roads and save money. He says the only drawback from sand will be a fair amount of clean up this spring.

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