Stephenson County Highway Department

Challenge – Replacing destroyed salt storage building
Solution – Hercules Truss Arch Buildings
Size – Two 45′ wide x 90′ long
Application – Municipal salt storage

When the Stephenson County Highway Department lost their old salt storage building in July 2011, County Engineer Chris Isbell had to make a quick decision to be ready for the upcoming winter. The highway department, located in northwestern Illinois, had previously been using a wooden bin inside of a hundred-year-old dairy barn. This building, which was part of the old county farm, held only about 750 tons of salt, which is approximately 25% of the county’s average annual usage. Explains Isbell, “The building also didn’t provide any storage space for our salt/aggregate mix, requiring a full-time loader operator to mix material as it was used.”

After a windstorm destroyed the building in July, Isbell knew the county needed a solution that could “be delivered and constructed very quickly, yet meet our needs for storing salt and salt/aggregate mix.” Isbell started researching traditional wooden structures, as well as fabric buildings, while the insurance company was finishing their review. He notes, “During this research, I determined that fabric buildings cost less and could be constructed quicker than wood-framed structures. 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 November 1, to give us time to get ready for the winter season.”

Isbell discovered ClearSpan Fabric Structures through the search engines and trade magazines, and after the bidding process, the highway department purchased two Hercules Truss Arch Buildings because of their quick turnaround time, durability and corrosion resistance. Isbell is very pleased with the department’s new buildings. “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. 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.” He continues, “The buildings are also very low maintenance. They are freeing up budget dollars for road maintenance that would have been used for building maintenance. They are working out great!”

From purchase to installation, ClearSpan wowed Stephenson County. Isbell says, “The office staff was able to get the buildings ordered and delivered in a timely manner, and they even shipped a week early. The installation crews were also quick and professional. This is a very professional company with very professional crews. I would highly recommend them.”

For more on Stephenson County Highway Department and their ClearSpan buildings, contact Chris Isbell at