City, county crews ready for winter

Friday, December 29, 2017
Snowplows at the Clay County Highway Department are ready to go when old man winter strikes.
Ivy Jacobs photo

So far so good; at least as far as Old Man Winter goes.

Whenever the forecast includes a winter blast that could make driving a slippery mess the Brazil City Garage and the Clay County Highway Department are ready… and waiting.

Workers at the Brazil City Garage, located at the corner of North Sherman and West U.S. 40 are ready for the next blast of foul weather.

Supervisor Brian Bemis said his six-man crew and the city’s winter equipment are ready to pretreat and clear away snow on the more than 50 miles of roads in the city limits.

The city department also has a stockpile of sand/salt from last year’s mild winter, and has placed an early order for more salt.

While the mild weather in November left the city snow plows and sandboxes in the parking lot, the city employees used the time to finish collecting piles of leaves from around the city and the street sweeper was able to make a few more rounds on the side streets.

When snow and bad weather strikes, Bemis said the roads in and around the hospital, schools and the main roads through the city are the priority, with secondary roads up next.

“There’s enough trucks and drivers that we can make sure we have a snow plow in each section of the city,” Bemis said.

However, he said, the amount of snowfall or locations of ice also play a factor in that plan as to where the resources are best used.

The county highway department workers are also keeping busy by continuing to catch up on the road work around the almost 700 miles of county roads during this mild December.

Last year’s mild weather left a building full of salt/sand/calcium mixture at the garage facility located at 409 N. S.R. 59. There are contracts ready to order another 100 tons of salt when needed.

The county department’s winter game plan is ready to go, including:

All the equipment has been serviced during winter inspections and is ready to hit the road.

The drivers know to arrive early the evening before a potential winter storm’s projected arrival, in case intersections and other trouble areas along the roads needs to be pretreated. Otherwise, drivers know it’s a waiting game before they attack the falling snow with snowplows, graders and the sand/salt mixture used to clear away the snow.

The crew also knows they will be out there - no matter how long it takes - until the roads are safe.

“When people see the snowplows they need to be a little patient,” Bemis said about motorists trying to get around after a bad snowfall or ice storm. “We’re out there clearing the roads for them.”

Officials urge motorists to use common sense and caution while driving on the roads, especially alongside the highway equipment, whether the city, county or state vehicles are working to clear the way.

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