City invests in new machine to take on winter ice

The City of Clear Lake is upping its snow removal game.

The City Council recently approved the purchase of a roadway ice breaker, described as two-ton rollers bristling with carbide-tipped spikes.  The equipment will be mounted on  the front of an end-loader, where they will puncture sheets of ice and break them up to be cleared away.

According to City Administrator Scott Flory, the ice breaker will be used as an alternative to reduce or eliminate the use of salt and sand as a primary de-icing agent on specified streets and routes.  Reduction of salt use will ultimately help the lake watershed, he noted.

Flory told the City Council at its Nov. 18 meeting that ice removal caused approximately $20,000 damage to snow removal equipment last year.   He recommended the roadway ice breaker, noting they have been successfully used in other areas of the country.  For example, the Minnesota Department of Transportation bought its first ice breaker in 2014, then added more for use in rural areas. MnDOT recently increased the number to 17.

The Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of an Arctic Shark Roadway Ice Breaker from Ultramech, of Loveland Colo., for $33,680 plus freight.

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