CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Plow drivers have been working around the clock to make sure roads are safe.
They started plowing and salting ever since Old Man Winter came knocking.
“Since Sunday, it’s been a pretty intense operation. Its 12 hour shifts around the clock,” Bill Geary, the Deputy Commission of the Erie County Highway Department said.
When drivers are ready to head out, they go to one of 10 facilities in the county. A front loader gathers the salt, then it’s dumped into the plows so they can go treat the roads on their planned route.
Drivers have their hands full. Collectively they work on 1200 center line miles. Half of that the county works on. Town and village crews are contracted to do the rest.
While drivers are out, they have to assess the conditions and decide whether they should plow, salt or do both.
“It’s a little bit of a science. It’s all skill that a lot of the drivers have acquired,” Geary replied. “It’s based on conditions. A lot of times, knowing what’s coming down the road. If there’s going to be some high winds and blow spots, we want that snow to just kind of slide off the road.”
Geary said crews will be out working until the job is done.
“We’re trying to get to a condition that we call the asphalt. We call it running water. We want to have the roads clean. All of the snow storage on the shoulder is pushed back in preparation for what’s coming next.”
Erie County crews used roughly 5 thousand tons of salt this week.
Normally, the county has about 15 thousand tons on standby for the next wintry event. As a result, salt barns are replenishing now to ensure they’re ready.