Banks, Transportation, Weather

County could face delays obtaining anti-icing materials this winter

Global supply chain disruptions have come to Washington County, and they have and could continue to impact county road work projects.

“The same supply-chain disruptions that are impacting businesses and store shelves are creating delays in Washington County road construction and maintenance projects,” an email from the Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation read. 

LUT said that some work was delayed in the summer of 2021 due to delivery times being double what the roads department expected, though the county noted that everything ordered did eventually arrive. 

As winter approaches, LUT warned that a number of materials could be delayed, including liquid magnesium chloride, an anti-icing agent deployed by the county on their roads.

The county expects to have enough of the material to last the winter.

Other materials that may see delays include aluminum, used for traffic signs, and steel, used for signposts, guardrails, and other bridge materials. 

In an email to this newspaper, Washington County LUT spokesperson Melissa De Lyser noted that the county has a large stockpile of magnesium chloride on hand, enough for at least four applications to cover all Washington County Roads.

That’s thanks to new storage tanks the county built in November 2020.

“Washington County has more mag chloride on hand than we’ve ever had going into the winter season,” De Lyser said. As of Friday morning, the county had 30% more of the anti-icing chemical on hand than in previous years.

“It took longer than usual to get that supply, but at this point we are well stocked for all winter materials,” she said.

Liquid magnesium chloride on Gales Creek Road just east of downtown Gales Creek in 2019, photo courtesy LUT

“We continue to work with our suppliers on all delays to anticipate road project impacts. We are adding long lead times in our schedules for next year’s projects,” the county said. 

KPTV previously reported that the Oregon Department of Transportation said that staffing shortages at the state highway department could lead to delays in plowing state highways during winter weather. ODOT usually plows the Coast Range stretches of Highways 6 and 26 through Gales Creek and near Banks.

This story has been updated Friday morning with more information on current stores of anti-icing materials held by the county for the winter.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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