When the Stephenson County, Ill., Highway Department’s salt storage building was destroyed in a storm last summer, County Engineer Chris Isbell had to make a quick decision to prepare for the upcoming winter. The highway department, located in northwestern Illinois, had been using a wooden bin inside of a hundred-year-old dairy barn to contain about 750 tons of salt, which is approximately 25 percent of the county’s average annual supply.

Isbell needed a replacement building that could be built quickly and would have enough room to store additional salt and salt/aggregate mix. Isbell started researching options while the insurance company was finishing its review. “During this research, I determined that fabric buildings cost less and could be constructed quicker than wood-framed structures,” he says. “The speed of getting something erected was very crucial in our instance, as a building needed to be up and ready to receive salt before Nov. 1, to give us time to get ready for the winter season.”

The highway department purchased two Hercules Truss Arch Buildings from Dyersville, Iowa-based ClearSpan Fabric Structures, and they were completed in time to receive the winter supplies. “We now have one building large enough to hold a full year’s supply of salt and a second building that can hold half a year’s supply of our salt/aggregate mix,” Isbell says. “We no longer have to have a loader operator present to mix material as it is being used. This has freed up man power and eliminated the need to hire a temporary, part-time employee.”

The fabric structures also require little maintenance. “They are freeing up budget dollars for road maintenance that would have had to been used for building maintenance,” he says.