The challenges plow drivers face

Keeping the City streets and parking lots clear of snow is challenging enough, but the plow drivers have more to worry about than the snow.

Posted: Feb 7, 2018 6:04 PM

The Utica Department of Public Works hit the roads ready for the worst, and it wasn’t just one plow truck, it was truck, after truck, after truck. Public Works Commissioner Dave Short says they’ve been monitoring and preparing for this storm for days. Salt supplies are at good levels and the mechanics have the fleet up to par. DPW employees are faced with working a 24 hour shift, but that’s just the beginning. Cars parked on the street are their biggest obstacle, but that’s not all they’re up against.

"In the City we’re fighting constantly with traffic, cars, people walking, people riding their bikes. It’s a whole different scenario."

If the plow drivers can’t get their jobs done, neither can the city bus drivers. KC Martin is the Senior Director of Operations at Centro. He talked about the challenges city bus drivers have during storms like this.

"Cars get stuck, and if we get stuck in the snow when we’re trying to get buses past them it becomes difficult. So even cars parked on the street can present a problem in narrow streets, and we have a lot of narrow streets here in the Utica area."

In addition to the city streets being cleared, there’s also public parking areas. George Sabo works for City of Utica Buildings and Grounds. He talked about what makes clearing the parking lots a challenge.

"You got to watch where you are because you got parked cars and you never know when someone’s going to pull out or back out in front of you. Backing up is quite a chore also because all you got is your two side mirrors and you got a full spreader and a ton of salt on you here."

One last thing to keep in mind is how the DPW operates. If you happen to see the streets filling up with snow, Dave Short says it’s probably not because they haven’t been there.

"We work from the farthest point out from the city and work our way toward the garage. So we may go out by the New Hartford line and plow right now, but in 2 hours it may not even look like we’ve been there yet. We know that. We will go back out and clean.
So keep all these things in mind because this probably won’t be the last time we get buried in snow."

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