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Kingsport inspects its snow removal equipment

Matthew Lane • Nov 16, 2019 at 9:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Last week’s mild snowstorm arrived earlier in the year than any other Ronnie Hammonds can recall. As with any other snowfall, it caused Kingsport’s Streets and Sanitation division to be on 24-hour detail that night, working to take care of any slick spots around town.

It’s a process that’ll be repeated if any more of the white stuff manages to fall.

Hammonds, the manager of Streets and Sanitation, remarked on the brief snow event during Friday’s annual inspection of the city’s snow removal equipment.

The event is typically held around the end of October or the first of November before the start of winter. It’s done so crews can make sure every piece of equipment in the fleet is in good working condition.

“It’s the earliest snowfall I ever recall,” Hammonds said. “We had crews working overnight. We salted a few bridges and a few high spots that were shaded. We didn’t have a whole lot of problems, just a few areas and some sidewalks around city buildings.”

During Friday’s inspection, all of the trucks were lined up, plows and salt spreaders were attached, and the nearby storage tower was packed to the ceiling with road salt. New to the snow removal fleet this year are three orange tractors with snowplows.

Hammonds said the tractors are normally used to mow the rights-of-way within the city.

“We actually used one or two of them last year and they worked out pretty well. So we went ahead and added a blade to the third one,” Hammonds said. “They’re very maneuverable, have four-wheel-drive and can get around pretty good.”

Here’s a list of vehicles Kingsport has in its fleet to tackle the round-the-clock job of removing snow and ice from city streets.

FLEET EQUIPMENT

— 19 pickups

— 9 single-axle trucks

— 9 tandem-axle trucks

— 3 pretreatment trucks

— 3 tractors with snow plows

SALT SUPPLIES

Kingsport has 3,800 tons of salt on hand, with contracts in place with a Johnson City company to procure an additional 5,000 tons if necessary. Over the last 10 years, Hammonds said, the city has averaged six snow events annually and has used approximately 2,500 tons of road salt each year.

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