A recent improvement project at the Kenosha County Center in Bristol will make “fill ‘er up” go faster for employees of the Kenosha County Division of Highways. And that’s likely to mean savings for taxpayers come winter, when snow removal season gets into full swing.
The County Center’s fuel filling station – used to gas up all sorts of county vehicles, from snowplows and dump trucks to Sheriff’s Department squads and Public Works pickups – was in need of at least $100,000 in repairs, said Andy Shierk, manager of shop operations for the Highway Division. What’s more, its cramped, two-bay layout meant long lines for Highway Division personnel waiting to fill their vehicles at the end of their shifts.
Shierk was recently in charge overseeing the solution to these problems: A brand new, state-of-the-art, three-island, six-pump system that debuted last month.
“This is another example of county government planning for the future and striving to work more efficiently,” said County Executive Jim Kreuser.
The old filling station was original equipment from when the County Center, at the corners of highways 45 and 50, was built in 1994.
“At the time, it was the latest and greatest,” Shierk said. “Over the years, it has had a few upgrades, but now it’s pretty much past its useful life.”
Shierk said the old system’s two underground fiberglass tanks had a defined lifespan. The new fuel system should last 30 to 40 years, he said.
The new, expanded pump islands are spaced farther apart than the old ones, Shierk said, allowing for larger pieces of equipment to share the station. The old filling station became cramped over the years, as plows have gotten wider.
“During the wintertime, that’s when you really need these pumps,” county Highway Commissioner Clement Abongwa said, of the new station’s additional capacity. “You don’t want the drivers to be queuing and waiting.”
Shierk said “massive backups” would occur with the old system during snowstorms, when drivers would line up – often on overtime – to fill up their vehicles at the end of their shifts.
The new system has a greater capacity in the tanks underground, as well, Shierk said. While the old tanks held 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 12,000 gallons of gasoline, the new one can handle 20,000 gallons of diesel and 15,000 gallons of gas. This means fewer emergency orders for fuel during winter storms, Shierk explained.
Schofield, Wis.- based Walt’s Petroleum Service was contracted to install the new system and decommission the old one. Kenosha County Highway Division crews will handle the paving work around the new and old fuel systems.
The project was expected to be completed for less than the $700,000 budgeted for it, Shierk said.