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Plows are a common sight in 2014.

January 30, 2014
THE GROSSE POINTES — Roads were so glacial earlier in this ice-encrusted winter that shipments of road salt couldn't make it to the Grosse Pointe Shores public works garage.

"My argument was how can I get the roads good if we don't have salt?" said Brett Smith, DPW director. "We were out of salt for a few days."

Supplies also dipped due to widespread increased demand.

"Everybody used so much in a short period of time," Smith said.

He made up for the shortage by using the buddy system.

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"We have great relationships with communities around us," he said. "Everybody worked together to get through the issue and we're back up to par."

In Grosse Pointe Farms, a snow plow exposed a sink hole on McKinley.

"A sewer line had an opening in a joint," said Shane Reeside, Farms manager. "It eroded dirt and, over time, created a cavity beneath the road, which was opened when a large plow came through."

Crews had to fix the sewer before backfilling the hole for a permanent repair.

Snowfall this season is making a mark on labor costs.

"Overtime is higher because it seems to only snow at night and on Sundays," Smith said. "We're getting through it. We have a great bunch of guys and they're doing a great job."

Employees also are repairing water damage from burst pipes in the Osius Park bathhouse.

"There may be some insulation to replace," Smith said.

In the City of Grosse Pointe, Councilman Donald Parthum Jr. is impressed with the snow-clearing efforts of municipal employees.

"I've seen the guys working their tails off," Parthum said.

"The guys have been working on nothing but snow and equipment," said Gary Huvaere, City public service supervisor.

Obtaining road salt isn't a problem, and there's room in the budget for more.

"We can get one more load of salt and still be within our budget," said Peter Dame, City manager. "We're allowed to get 30 percent more salt under our contract. If we need to buy more salt, we will."

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