Plow drivers get head start on winter storm

It’s one thing to the next for Department of Public Works employees in Erie County. On Thursday, they dealt with flooding issues. On Friday, it’s ice and snow.

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s one thing to the next for Department of Public Works employees in Erie County. On Thursday, they dealt with flooding issues. On Friday, it’s ice and snow.

They tried getting a head start of this weekend’s winter storm on Friday afternoon to keep the roads safe for commuters. It took a lot of prep work from several different highway crews. Friday morning, a conference call was held between state, county, and local officials to set up a plan. It called for early pre-work before the first snowflake even fell.

“We’re not expecting any really heavy snowfall until after 10 (Friday) night,” said Erie County DPW Commissioner Bill Geary. We still will have a good inch or two on the ground.”

At about noon, several plow drivers took to the roads to pre-treat them with salt. Their biggest hope is that people either stayed home from work Friday, or left early. With Monday being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, they have their fingers crossed people tried getting a head start on the long weekend.

“The biggest concern is the afternoon drive home,” said Geary. “But it’s a holiday weekend, so volume has been light. It’s a Friday. That’s the positive for our drivers.”

Keith Nawotka was one of the drivers to leave the DPW’s West Seneca barn at noon Friday for the start of his shift. He’s been with the DPW for 10 years. Nawotka says it’s always important to give plow drivers some room. But it’s especially important for a storm like this one, because of the ice.

“A lot of people think that these trucks will stop,” Nawotka said. “We have just as much trouble stopping sometimes with all the weight on the truck as a regular car does. That’s what a lot of people don’t take into consideration.”

You’re asked to keep about 200 feet behind plow trucks.

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