'Ready for winter:' Waukesha County preps 53-truck fleet, '250 tons of salt' for weekend snow

WAUKESHA -- Efforts to tackle snow in Waukesha County started hours before any flakes hit the ground. The message in Waukesha County? Stay off the roads, Saturday -- unless you absolutely have to go out.

At the Waukesha County Public Works facility, trucks came in non-stop to fill up, making sure the county is ahead of the heavy snowfall.

Bob Rauchle

"We are ready for winter now. It's time," says Bob Rauchle, highway operations manager for Waukesha County.

Rauchle's crews are busy filling trucks with salt and sand hours before the snow arrives.

"We maintain approximately a couple of thousand miles of roads," Rauchle says. "We'll have 53 trucks out there."

Those 53 trucks are the county's entire fleet -- mobilized ahead of a big winter weekend. There's no shortage of salt, either -- it's packed to the rafters in a storage dome. Another 6,000 tons is waiting for pickup, too.

"It will take our trucks to fill...take about 250 tons of salt to fill all 53 trucks in a storm," says Rauchle.

Crews will not anti-ice roads in advance of the storm -- the rain will just wash the work away and dilute things before any ice forms, officials say.

Looking at the storm strictly by the numbers, Rauchle says this is going to be a big one. In addition to the full 53-truck fleet, the county will also burn through 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel in 24 hours. And in eight hours, the county will spend $50,000 in labor, equipment and fuel costs. In return, workers have just one simple request for drivers.

"The more space you can give us, the safer everyone is going to be," says Rauchle.

While it seems like there hasn't been too much snow this season in Waukesha, consider this: plows have been out seven times since a big Halloween snowstorm hit the area.