PATERSON — Passaic County Freeholder Director Theodore “TJ” Best and Freeholder Deputy Director John Bartlett welcomed a delegation of officials from the City of Cheong Ju in South Korea this week. The South Korean delegation visited the Passaic County Roads Department to learn more about the county’s winter storm response. The meeting was held on Wednesday, February 24, 2016.
“I worked with our road crews during our last major snow storm. I saw firsthand the hard work and long hours that go into keeping our roads passable and safe during winter storms,” said Freeholder Director Theodore “TJ” Best. “This meeting request is confirmation of the preparation and work that goes into the county’s winter storm response.”
The delegation from South Korea — made up of public works officials — requested a meeting with Passaic County Roads Supervisor Kenneth Simpson, along with his staff of mechanics and supervisors.
“My staff and I were initially surprised by the meeting request. It wasn’t until the request letter was followed-up with multiple phone calls that I knew this meeting would take place. We were humbled by the opportunity to meet public works professionals, who face similar challenges during winter storms, from literally the other side of the world,” said Kenneth Simpson, Passaic County Supervisor of Roads.
The City of Cheong Ju, which receives an average of 20 inches of snow per year, was researching the Alberta Clipper that dumped over 30 inches of snow in Passaic County in less than 24 hours. In their research, they discovered that Paterson had a similar population to their city, and that their local region had a mix of rural, suburban, and urban areas much like Passaic County. For comparison, the City of Paterson receives an average of about 25 inches of snow annually.
According to Freeholder Director TJ Best, the county roads department has been improving on the preparation for responding to winter storms. Whether maintaining snow removal equipment in the spring, running trial storm exercises for road crews, or preparing roads with brine solution before a pending storm, Passaic County shared snow removal and storm response tactics with the public works professionals from South Korea.
In detailing some of the winter storm response preparation, Roads Supervisor Kenneth Simpson described the approach the county takes in its snow removal effort. Several days before a snow storm, the road department sprays the road with brine, which is a mix of rock salt and water. As the water evaporates, the thin layer of brine coats the pavement which breaks the bond between the blacktop and the snow, and while the snow can still pack on top of itself it makes the removal process more efficient. Simpson also talked about the types of salt, trucks, hardware, weather tracking systems, and practice drills that help improve the snow removal process.
The Passaic County Road Department and representatives from South Korea learned that each community faces similar challenges in terms of communicating to citizens, managing jurisdictional issues with navigating various levels of government, and cost.
“This meeting was a success. We plan to keep lines of communication open as the City of Cheong Ju implements their new snow removal procedures, truly creating an international partnership between Cheong Ju and Passaic County,” added Kenneth Simpson.