Salt Storage - FarmTek

Customer Testimonials - Illinois Department of Transportation

Challenge - Limited salt storage capacity
Solution - Hercules Truss Arch Building
Size - 83' wide x 198' long
Application - Salt storage
Location - Pontiac, Ill.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) - Pontiac Maintenance Facility District 3, is one of several strategically placed facilities throughout Illinois charged with maintaining state owned roads, highways and bridges. This facility has been in continuous operation since the late 1950's.

Before 2015, the IDOT's salt had generally been stored in traditional salt domes or smaller salt box style, open front bins. The dome buildings have high initial costs for various reasons and require substantial maintenance over the life of the building. In addition, the volume of stored material is limited by the diameter of the dome, generally allowing for only 2,000 to 2,800 tons of stored salt per building. With storage capacity in mind, the IDOT
began to consider a larger, fabric structure, aiming to replace the dome building being used in their Pontiac location.

Jeff Baity of Matocha Associates, who was the project designer and manager on the project, said, "The objective of this building was to provide an alternate building style that has a more effective dollar-storage volume capacity rate, while also having lower maintenance costs long term." Baity continued, "The goal was to construct one building capable of storing 10,000 standard tons of salt, which would be compatible to the IDOT's operations." By comparison, this volume of salt would take four to five conical dome structures to house, saving the department lots of money.

Baity presented three manufacturers capable of executing the project to the contractors, and they ultimately chose a 83' wide by 198' long ClearSpan fabric structure. Baity was exalted by the contractors' decision, "From the perspective of the designer, the sales and tech team at ClearSpan by far outperformed the other manufacturers in terms of supplying critical information for our design."

ClearSpan buildings have no internal support posts, providing the IDOT with room for 10,500 tons of salt and an additional 4,000 square feet for equipment storage in the off-season. Baity said, "I was able to provide IDOT with a building capable of holding their salt quantities, while also providing them with a 100 percent indoor work environment." Another benefit of the ClearSpan building is the abundance of natural light provided by the fabric cover. The IDOT chose the heavier 28 oz. vinyl fabric cover, and Baity reported, "You do not need to turn a light on in the building, even on rainy days." They can now work inside the building all day and never have to use any energy to illuminate it.

Baity has checked in with the staff and reported, "They thoroughly enjoy the work environment the building provides, and I'm told even the delivery drivers like the building, because of its spacious interior and ease of staging and dropping their loads." Baity added, "The real benefits will come this winter during the first major snow event. Plow drivers and the loading operator have never experienced indoor loading of their trucks, and it should really help expedite the process."

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