Tough winter forces Tipton to be strategic

TIPTON (WISH) — Northern Indiana cities had to be selective Monday when they prepared for another round of winter weather.

With salt piles depleting, they had to be careful about pre-treating roads.

Huge mounds of snow in the Tipton City Pool parking lot indicate what kind of winter Hoosiers have faced. And it’s not over. As snow began to fall Monday, existing snow piles created clearing hazards, snow drifts cover pre-treated roads and salt bins are running low.

“Just putting it on the main intersections and streets that are used more heavily than other streets. A lot of the side streets don’t get treated,” said Gary Harpe, Tipton City Street Department Commissioner.

The city of Tipton is down to 29 tons of salt. The city started with 240 tons in December.

“We’re kind of at the mercy of the state. When they get salt in then we usually order our salt delivered too. And they’re having trouble getting it (themselves) out here,” said Harpe.

From depleted salt bins to messy commutes, this winter is taking its toll.

“I think everybody is pretty much over it,” said Anita Auler.

Her 9-year-old daughter agrees there’s certainly a lot of inconvenience that comes with the fun, fluffy snow.

“I like all the snow, but it’s just delays and no school then I have all the work to do,” said Taylor Auler.

For others it’s not just inconvenient, it’s dangerous. And it continues to impede mobility.

“It’s rough. Because I’m afraid of falling and don’t want to get hurt again and stuff,” said Marsha Auler.

Marsha Auler suffers from residuals of polio as a child. Snowy sidewalks and icy parking lots are big obstacles. Those are some of the reasons Tipton’s 12 street department employees are working over time.

“One day I think it was 16 hours, and it’s just tough to work them that long when we have other things we’ve got to do. A couple of days we did suspend trash,” said Harpe.

Street department workers have clocked some 500 hours of overtime this winter. And Monday’s forecast could have them racking up more.

Aside from the conservative pre-treating, Tipton is waiting to see just what happens. If snow comes down heavily, crews will need to stay through to plow roads for tomorrow. If it slows down for a few hours they may wait to start plowing until the morning.

The state is hoping for a new shipment of salt this week, but isn’t sure exactly when or how much they’ll get.

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