Norma Partlow has been working for the Bloomington street division for the past two years. In a fleet of three dozen trucks, she is the only female driver. Just like the others, she fixes potholes in the summer, collects leaves in the fall, but on snowy days like today, she’s plowing and dropping salt… lots of salt.
Street Commissioner Bob Chestnut said how much depends on how bad the storm is.
Today alone, “you’re probably looking at between four and six hundred tons,” said Chestnut.
Norma can drop salt for a good three hours before she needs to refill her truck, but it’s the plowing aspect that poses the most problems. Despite the stress involved with cleaning up busy streets and avoiding parked cars, Norma enjoys the work.
“It’s relaxing to me, but I like to drive. If somebody didn’t like to drive they may not enjoy this,” said Partlow.
When temperatures drop in to the single digits, like it’s supposed to tonight, the salt and water mixture can freeze. Chestnut says once it drops below eighteen degrees, the salt loses its effectiveness.
“By the time tonight comes, we may have a few icy spots, but I don’t think its going to be all that bad.”
From November to March the street division can use anywhere from 3000 to 8000 tons of salt. With several large snow storms already in the books, Chestnut said it will be a busy winter.