Technical Tour will "play in Peoria"

Tour to demonstrate Midwestern snow fighting strategies

Dave Marshall
Superintendent, Facilities Operations
Public Works Department
City of Peoria, Illinois

Editor's Note: The North American Snow Conference will take place April 30 - May 3 in Peoria, Illinois. The following article discusses the City of Peoria and IDOT Public Works Operation Centers, the sites of one of two Technical Tours scheduled for the morning of May 3. In the April issue we'll include an article on the other Technical Tour, the Caterpillar Tractor Assembly Plant and Mapleton Foundry. See the special Snow Conference section following this page for more information about the keynote speakers, a list of all the education session topics, descriptions of the evening social activities, and a registration form.

Your Illinois Chapter Snow Conference Committee leadership building momentum at the 2005 Congress in Minneapolis: left to right are Dick Paulson, co-chair; Dave McKinley, co-chair; Rich Berning, chapter past president; and Dave Marshall, co-chair.

The Illinois Chapter is proud to be your host for the 2006 APWA North American Snow Conference in Peoria, Illinois. The Illinois Chapter first selected Peoria as the site of our annual state conference in 2001. From a meager beginning of 25 exhibitors and an attendance of 100, we have grown to more than 70 exhibitors and an attendance of over 300. Our state conference this year will be held immediately following the national North American Snow Conference.

Each year, the Snow Conference features Technical Tours on the last day of the conference. Stops at both the City of Peoria's Lester D. Bergsten Operations and Maintenance Center and the Illinois Department of Transportation Peoria West facility are highlighted in this year's Wednesday morning technical tours. Both facilities are located within a short bus trip from the downtown conference venue.

The Bergsten Center was completed in 1986 and houses Peoria's Public Works operations and maintenance divisions including Streets and Sewers, Facilities, Traffic and Fleet Services. The facility is set on 13 acres near what was the geographic center of the city at the time of construction.

  Peoria salt dome and conveyor system

The Streets and Sewers Division covers all roadway maintenance for the City's 450 center-lane miles that are divided into 55 roughly equal service routes and 25 snow routes covering 180 miles of primary roadway within the 49 square miles of the city. The division's in-house crews annually chip seal 65 miles of roadway, install 3,000 square yards of full-depth concrete patching, place 1,000 square yards of asphalt patching, rebuild 200 stormwater inlets and plow an annual average 18 inches of snow.

The tour will include a visit to the 12,000-ton conveyor-loaded salt storage dome, liquid calcium chloride storage tanks and dispensing facilities, and the indoor equipment storage area where participants can check out the plow fleet. See how it's done in the heart of Illinois.

The Fleet Services Division manages over 450 individual pieces of heavy equipment and vehicles working two shifts during the week and around the clock in support of snow storms or other emergencies. The staff maintains all except fire department vehicles and equipment. The fleet garage area will be available for those interested in this aspect of keeping our equipment on the road.

  IDOT salt brine and calcium chloride storage tanks

An opportunity to visit the traffic operations area will also be provided. The Traffic Operations Division maintains over 285 signalized intersections for the City of Peoria, IDOT and surrounding municipalities. Nearly all locations are interconnected and controlled via computer. Monitoring capabilities are provided for local Interstate 74 Intelligent Transportation System cameras and electronic message boards. The division has recently completed a total retrofit of all signal locations to LED lamp modules and pedestrian countdown heads. Over 10,000 individual street lights and electrical services for 25 buildings and four parking decks are also maintained by the traffic operations personnel.

The second half of the tour will be a stop at the Illinois Department of Transportation Peoria West Facility where IDOT staff will be conducting tours of their maintenance and operations facility. The tour will focus on IDOT's liquid salt brine making equipment and techniques. You will be able to see how this highly effective deicing material is made and used in central Illinois.

IDOT has successfully produced a 23% concentration of liquid salt brine solution in the Peoria District for the past eight winter seasons at a rate of 6,000-8,000 gallons per day per brine-making unit. The positive economic impact on IDOT's operating budget has convinced the Department to increase the number of brine-making facilities to a point that all of the 12 counties in the Peoria District are serviced with IDOT-made salt brine.

  IDOT salt brine maker

IDOT has traditionally used liquid salt brine for bridge deck anti-icing efforts and tailgate pre-wet treatment of rock salt. IDOT is in the process of expanding the liquid salt brine usage to eventually include full-lane anti-icing applications on all expressways in addition to the introduction of "Hot Brine."

The newest item in the Department's snow fighting arsenal, "Hot Brine," takes advantage of the cost savings in self-produced liquid salt brine and the lower eutectic point of liquid calcium chloride by combining the products in a precise relationship that has proved to be a very useful and stable product.

The Department also will showcase various pieces of snow fighting equipment and the associated operators from around the state who will be on hand to answer any questions on both the positives and the negatives of end-user equipment operation experiences.

A representative from IDOT Traffic Safety will also be on hand to discuss various work zone safety campaigns and how they may affect your municipality.

We are certain you won't want to miss the tour and an opportunity to meet the men and women of Peoria to share the Midwestern snow experience. Remember to check the Wednesday tour selection on your official registration.

The 2006 North American Snow Conference is followed immediately by the Illinois Chapter annual conference May 3-5 in the same venue, the Peoria Civic Center. Partnering with other public works-related organizations has made our annual conference a one-stop shop for education sessions, networking and the latest in available products and equipment. Don't miss this special opportunity. Make your plans now to attend both by registering online at and and follow links to the Illinois Chapter Conference registration.

Dave Marshall is the Superintendent of Facilities Operations for the City of Peoria's Public Works Department. He was the Central Illinois Branch President in 2003-04 and is co-chair of the upcoming 2006 North American Snow Conference. He can be reached at (309) 494-8887 or