Storm Battles Plow Crew Efforts
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Motorists driving anywhere in the Salt Lake valley Wednesday battled slush, snow, and seemingly unplowed roads. Wind created a major obstacle for city, county and state plow crews.
“The wind kept blowing snow across the roads – that was a big challenge for our crews,” said Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason.
He said the crews wound up losing that piece of the fight against the storm.
“The areas that our crews had covered, 15 minutes later, you couldn’t tell that we had been through there,” Gleason said.
Commuters starting to travel at 4 a.m. frustrated Salt Lake County’s 62 plow crews. They had only started an hour earlier.
Salt Lake County Public Works Operations Director Kevyn Smeltzer said, “We get caught in traffic, the traffic gets the snow packed down, makes it tough to get it off.”
In Salt Lake City drivers struggled to navigate major streets as the storm kept dumping snow.
City Public Services Director Lisa Shaffer said, “We try to clean all priority-one routes within 36 hours of the end of the storm.
Salt Lake City’s snow plow priority map shows streets colored in red and blue. Everything colored red is priority including 300 S, east of State Street, where a KSL camera was set up.
The video showed snow and slush covering the street. The city said plow crews working on priority-one streets focus mostly on portions leading up to hospital, police stations, and fire stations while the snow keeps falling.
“In a storm like this, our main objective is to get emergency personnel moving,” said Shaffer.
She said two of the city’s 45 snow plows aren’t working. But the city’s snow plow tracker showed at least a half a dozen plows consistently in the city’s maintenance yard. Shaffer said plow drivers stop during the day to reload salt, get repairs, or simply get off the road.
“We try to rotate them through on a regular basis, get them out of the seat, stretch their legs,” said Shaffer.
It’s a big job battling winter storms. The plow drivers don’t always win.
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