Commuters may not have been too delighted about the first significant snowfall event of winter that occurred Tuesday and Wednesday. But the city of Woodbury’s public works employees were enthused for their version of “opening day” of plowing season, according to their supervisors. City plow trucks were out in force beginning early Tuesday afternoon and again early Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon, said Woodbury Public Works superintendent Dick Riemenschneider.
The trucks first focused on the main “arterial routes” such as Radio Drive, Valley Creek Road, Bailey Road, and then moved in on the residential streets and cul de sacs.
Plow and truck drivers worked in shifts, some plowing to early in the evening Tuesday and coming back to work at 2 a.m. Wednesday to get a head start on clearing roads before the morning commute, Riemenschneider said.
The public works employees had been mentally preparing for the two-day blitz days in advance of the weather event, said streets superintendent Jim Triebold.
“We pay attention to the forecasts, and we even start preparing weeks before once we get into late October and early November,” said Triebold, who is one of the public works employees in charge of organizing and assigning plowing and salting routes to drivers.
The winter hours for many public works employees change drastically when winter hits, but Triebold said it’s something many staff members look forward to.
“You definitely have to mentally prepare for the weird hours when a snow fall event of this magnitude hits,” Triebold said. “But they all know its part of the job. The enthusiasm is high this time of year because they like the change of pace the winter season brings.”
• The salt and sand mixture the public works plow operators use when they are clearing snowy and icy roads is 75 percent salt, 25 percent sand. Triebold said when colder temperatures set in the salt takes longer to break up ice on the road. Adding sand to the mix helps provide some traction for vehicles, he said
The public works department has a building across the street from its main building on Tower Drive that houses the salt and sand mixture used for the streets during and after snowfall events. During a typical 3- to 4-inch snow fall event the city uses about 128 tons of salt and sand mix on the hundreds of miles of streets throughout town.