Dry winter frees up Buffalo Grove and Lincolnshire streets, budget
Lincolnshire Public Works maintance worker Tony Brucato drives a snow plow Feb. 22 down Knightsbridge Parkway to clear off the remaining snow. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 26, 2013 6:35PM
BUFFALO GROVE — The drought is not all bad: less precipitation means fewer potholes.
Area public works crews started plowing around 2 a.m. Friday, clearing the northwest suburbs’ streets of three to four inches of snow. The relatively light snowfall represented a huge portion of this winter’s precipitation across the Chicago area. While there have been few winter wonders to behold, drivers have been able to rejoice at the refreshing absence of one of them.
“So far, we’re at about a third of our typical winter for pothole patching,” said Jennifer Hughes, Lincolnshire’s director of public works.
Potholes are a result of water seeping into pavement, freezing, then thawing — a process that puts pressure on asphalt, creating rocky road surfaces. With little snow and ice this winter, the streets have stayed more intact than usual.
“We’re actually considerably lower right now than we expected,” said Greg Boysen, Buffalo Grove’s public works director, about his department’s need for pothole-patching supplies.
Through the past 10 years, Buffalo Grove used an average of 130 tons of cold-weather patch material annually. Since Jan. 1, however, Buffalo Grove’s public works crews have used only 18.5 tons, Boysen reported.
Boysen added that the village averaged 3,111 tons of road salt annually through the past 10 years, but had used only 1,220 since Nov. 1.
In Lincolnshire, Hughes said she has only sent her drivers out for 14 snow events since Nov. 1.
“We’ve been lucky so far,” said Hughes, who has spent only 17 percent of her annual overtime budget, well below her average for late February. “We haven’t gotten hit with 3 storms in a week. When they’re doing long days like that, they’re not getting much else done the rest of the day.”
Both said their respective crews have remained busy despite a dry winter.
“We’ve been terribly troubled with the Emerald Ash tree,” said Boysen, explaining that his crews have spent the winter implementing Buffalo Grove’s plan to cut down every village-owned ash before the ash borer beetle strikes.
The three-year program calls for the cutting, grinding and stump removal of about 1,000 ashes. They are then replaced with other species. The Village Board is currently in the bidding process for a contract with a new arbor supplier.
In Lincolnshire, Hughes also is focused on tree trimming and removal, plus building new scoreboards for the ball fields in North Park.
Recent snowstorms aside, with an overall dry winter, Hughes said she’s been able to start thinking about spring chores.
“We’re getting ready to start working on fields,” she said. “Flowers will be up soon.”