Crews Work Early to Clear Snow
The storm that dropped snow in northern Nevada Tuesday and early Wednesday morning required crews to jump into action, quickly.
The storm that dropped snow in northern Nevada Tuesday and early Wednesday morning required crews to jump into action, quickly. The cities of Reno and Sparks put brine down on many streets before the storm. Once the snow started falling, they sent their plow drivers out to clear the roads.
"We didn't expect this intensity but we were preparing for worst-case scenario," Travis Truhill, Maintenance & Operations Manager for Reno Public Works said. "So we ran our crews. They ran 16-hour shifts last night."
Truhill says crews will typically work 12-hour shifts during storms to keep the ability to maintain roads 24 hours a day. Crews worked longer hours to keep Reno's roads safe for drivers.
"I am incredibly proud of the guys," Truhill said. "They did a great job. They planned for everything. We were ahead of this, even though it was a small event, and I couldn't ask for a better crew of guys."
Sparks crews also stayed busy, and officials say the use of brine is one of the city's most valuable tools. Ron Korman is the Sparks Public Works Division Manager. He says brine is one of the most valuable tools he has. He says a typical storm used to require about 400 tons of sand. If brine is sprayed on the roads ahead of the storm, the city only uses about 80 tons of sand. He says that is more economical and environmentally sound. Despite the brine, clearing the snow required a lot of manpower.
"We'll come in early in the morning and get started so that we can get the roads as cleaned off as possible and get some salt/sand mixture down on top of whatever we get," Korman said.
The crews worked throughout the early morning to get the snow out of the way before the morning commute. Plow drivers start on the main roads, then switch to the secondary main arteries including school zones before plowing the neighborhood feeders. They rarely go onto the residential streets. When the plows are on the roads, Korman says drivers should do their part to help keep the roads safe.
"Give the guys some room, stay back, get away from them, let them do their jobs," Korman said. The better they can do their job, then the better the roads are going to be for the commuting public."
The snow meant more business for some of northern Nevada's businesses, too. Signature Landscapes clears snow from parking lots, driveways and sidewalks for clients from Carson City to Cold Springs.
"It's never an easy task because, especially the deeper the snow gets, the longer the crews are there," Greg Topel, Commercial Account Manager for Signature Landscapes said. "So it does take us awhile to get around to all our routes because we do have pretty good-sized territory."
Topel says the snow is good for business and it means the possibility of overtime for some employees. He says about 100 employees came in early to get to work.
"It gets crazy busy," Topel said. "We get up as soon as we feel we need to get out there. Usually at midnight, 1:00 in the morning."
Most of the employees stick to the same jobs, whether they operate equipment or use a shovel. Topel says their experience makes the work go faster and more efficiently. The work can get tiring and he says he expects a lot more work into Thursday.
"They'll go home and probably go right to bed because we get up again tonight, the next day and we do ice melt again to make sure that anything that did melt over the day gets ice melt put back on it so it doesn't get slippery," Topel said.
As the temperature falls, public and private crews will keep an eye on the pavement, to make sure any wet areas don't freeze. They will put ice melt and salt/sand down as required.