New salt dome on same old site eyed by Evanston

A year after they rejected plans to build a new salt dome on a new site, Evanston aldermen tonight will be asked to approve plans to build a new dome on the existing site at the municipal service center.

Last year city staff said the service center wasn't big enough to handle the city's road salt needs and proposed building a new, larger dome on one of four sites -- a parking lot next to Ryan Field, the former compost site in James Park, or either of two sites along the North Shore Channel, one at Ashland Avenue and Noyes Street, the other on McDaniel Avenue south of Church Street.

Now Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says that because of changes in city operations, the city can fit a new 3,750 ton dome onto the site of the existing 2,500 ton dome -- almost as big as the 4,000 ton dome proposed last year.

Top: An example, from a city staff memo, of a modern salt dome. Above: Evanston's existing salt dome.

The reduction in the size of the city's fleet has opened up more room at the service center, Robinson says, and increased use of anti-icing and liquid de-icing compounds into the city's snow removal operation has cut salt storage need.

The cost of building the new dome and providing new salt brine equipment is estimated at $460,000.

Robinson says the existing salt dome, now more than 20 years old, has reached the end of its useful life and can't be cost-effectively repaired.

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Related document

Staff salt dome memo (.pdf)