Six silos made from larch wood, each with a 200 m2 capacity, now serve the canton and town of Thurgau for their winter services work. The capacity of these silos means enough salt can be bought in for an entire season’s winter services work. Area unit VI, which covers Swiss Federal National Road Area VI, which also used to get its salt here, has now been fully linked to the Müllheim maintenance depot.

We asked Daniel Goldinger, head of the Vehicles and Machinery Department at the Canton of Thurgau, how the facility is faring in everyday operations.

Mr Goldinger, what were your requirements for the replacement silo facility? Did the new silos meet your expectations in the first season?

DANIEL GOLDINGER The new silos needed to allow vehicles to be loaded smoothly while also making it easy to manage and assess salt supplies. Both these requirements were met; loading vehicles from small tractors to large eight-wheeler trucks is now a seamless process, and evaluating data for the gritting material collected is easy and manageable.

«Fluctuations can be huge. In the last 15 years, the lowest usage was 937 tonnes and the highest 4,703 tonnes of salt in one winter.»
Daniel Goldinger

Daniel Goldinger, Head of Department for Vehicles and Machinery, canton of Thurgau

Daniel Goldinger has been in this position at the canton Thurgau for over 18 years. He is responsible for the procurement of machinery and equipment, operating facilities and consumables for the Thurgau Cantonal Civil Engineering Office. At the same time, he is responsible for the maintenance of the vehicle fleet, for the operational maintenance of the work yards and manages the workshops.

How does it work when a canton and town share the same maintenance depot and salt storage? Are there specific amounts that each is allowed to take? How do you monitor how much is taken?

One of the six silos is rented out to the town. Management of materials for this rented silo is handled separately. We were able to programme the salt manager to suit these requirements as well as recipients’ specific entitlements.

How much salt do you need for a season? How do the different depots around the canton coordinate their work?

The average salt requirement for the canton of Thurgau is around 2,500 tonnes. Each depot works independently according to operational requirements.

Are there large seasonal fluctuations in the amounts used? What are the challenges?

Fluctuations can be huge. In the last 15 years, the lowest usage was 937 tonnes and the highest 4,703 tonnes of salt in one winter. However, thanks to the Rheinsalinen saltworks storage expansion, the supply capacity is good. The challenge lies in making sure there is always enough salt/brine available on site.

Slider motor for filling and mirror of the Frauenfeld salt silo

Slider motor for filling and mirror

How have winter services developed overall in the last 10 years? And what do you think winter services will look like in the year 2050?

With traffic always getting heavier and now virtually uninterrupted, it’s hard to get snow and ice off the roads before it gets compacted. And we’re seeing an increasing amount of heavy localised precipitation, which makes our work harder. How global warming and mobility will develop by 2050 and the impact it will have on winter services, I can’t say.

Does Frauenfeld only use salt or does it use brine as well? What’s the reasoning behind your approach?

We use brine and salt across the whole canton. Brine is cheaper, so supplementing with it saves us money. In addition, wetting the salt also improves its properties. Pre-wetted salt doesn’t blow away as easily, for example, because it sticks to the roads better. The spread pattern is also more even, which allows it to be used in a more targeted way.

Looking back, how happy were you with your collaboration with Blumer Lehmann?

We were very happy. From planning to execution, everything worked perfectly. The collaboration was efficient and targeted. The six previous silos were demolished in April, and by the end of July, the new silos were already operable.