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Swampscott DPW is ready for winter storms as they move ahead with new salt shed

Ryan Burke, left, and Jake Brownell from Iron Horse Structures build the new salt shed at the Swampscott DPW. (Owen O'Rourke)

SWAMPSCOTT — Construction is underway on a new $100,000 salt shed for the Department of Public Works (DPW) facility on Paradise Road, which will triple the capacity of their old, dilapidated shed.

In past winters, the DPW risked running out of salt during major storms, as the previous shed could only hold between 350 to 400 tons of salt, according to Gino Cresta, DPW director and assistant town administrator.

Typically, the DPW uses more than 100 tons of salt each time employees go out sanding for a storm, which meant the old shed could only hold enough salt for a maximum of three and a half storms, Cresta said.

The new shed will be able to hold between 1,200 and 1,500 tons of salt, which can cover 12 to 15 storms. Town Meeting approved funding for the new shed in 2016.

“In 2015, when we were having storm after storm, I was very close to running out of salt, which created a lot of stress on myself,” Cresta said.

Construction on the new shed began last week and is expected to be completed next Friday. The new shed will be a concrete block with steel tresses and a wooden fabric, Cresta said.

Cresta estimated that the old shed is between 40 to 50 years old and is falling apart. Its base was made out of concrete and salt had been eating away at it. He said the building inspector had been ready to condemn the old shed, as holes went right through the ceiling and shingle roof.

His crew is going to dismantle the old shed and the space will be used for parking, to accommodate the spaces lost by putting in the new shed.

The new salt barn at the DPW yard will be farther away from the street side lot than the existing structure. Cresta said moving the shed to the back of the property will make it easier for trucks to get in and out.

R.C. Griffin, Inc., was contracted by the town to construct the new shed through a bidding process. The Peabody-based company was the lowest bidder.

The new shed’s dimensions will be 40 feet by 42 feet, and it will be about 24 feet high.

“It’s definitely going to make my life easier because I won’t have to worry about constantly running out of salt,” Cresta said. “We can get enough in there at the beginning of the season to get us through 12 storms, so in the event there is a shortage from having trouble getting trucks to deliver it, at least I’ll have a surplus.”

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