Preparing to Plow
DULUTH - The first official day of Meteorological Winter isn't until Dec. 1,but the average first date for one inch of snowfall in Duluth is Nov. 4, meaning snow could be here at any time.
"Eh, its Duluth, winters gonna come ya know," said Tim Lowney a Heavy Equipment Operator.
An average winter didn't even show up last year.
Last winter we saw only 60 percent of the annual snowfall we normally see here in Duluth, which left operators with a surplus of sand and salt, which will carry over into this winter to help keep our roads safe.
"We had a dramatic decrease in the amount of salt and sand we had to use, and obviously our overtime budget was far less. But the snowless winter really created some opportunities for us to get a lot of other work done," said Kelly Fleissner.
There is much more work to be done this year, all because of the devastating flood last June.
"Ya know, we're still patching at this time, uh doing some quite a bit of flood repair still" said Lowney
Now workers are beginning the transition period from summer to winter, by switching over dump trucks and adding their sand and salt bins. As well attaching the 11 foot plows which will help keep the streets clear of snow.
"We start getting our trucks ready right about now – we transform them from doing summer work to being ready to plow snow. We make sure all our road graders are ready and we go through some fall training for employees," Fleissner said.
The city is equipped with 22 plows and 22 street graders.
The plows are the first on call to help spread the sand and salt during when a storm hits, but the graters are only sent out when the snow is much heavier.
While you may only see these machines out on the roadways in certain conditions, operators say all pieces of equipment are important.
Keeping roadways safe to drive on and clear of snow is the most important job for the maintenance crews, so they have developed a method to make this process even more effective.
"It's pre–wet before it hits the ground and what is does, is it activates the salt, and it keeps it from bouncing on the road and tumbling to the side. So it hits the ground, in theory, and sticks, and starts working immediately. So pre–wetting the salt and sand is really a key component of getting this material to work more effectively and reduce the amount of material you need," said Fleissner
For any questions or concerns about snow removal you can visit their website which you can find on the Fox 21 links page.
The website will answer questions about proper snow removal and also has a phone number to contact for snow reports or questions.
Managers stress their main focus for the public is properly parking their cars.
Follow the rules of calendar parking. Because if people follow these rules and are parked on the right side of the street, snow removal goes really efficient," said Fleissner