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Guest Editorial

Rick S. Dunford, Summit County Public Works Department

Praise the snow spirits! Last week’s first meaningful snowfall heralds the onset of the snow season. All of us who live and play in Summit County are anxious for the recreation opportunities the snow brings.

Although I have been working in Summit County since 1980, this is my first winter working for the Summit County Public Works Department. As the "new guy," I thought that the county snowplow operator’s attitude toward the snow season would be the exception to the general resident norm. I thought that the hours and dedication that are required to be a Summit County snowplow operator would be something to dread with the first snowstorm. I was wrong! There has been a flurry of energy and activity these past few weeks here at the Public Works Yard, transitioning from summer road work to winter snowplowing. The atmosphere reminds me more of getting ready to play in a softball tournament than preparation for another the snow season. These guys are efficient and the energy expended comes from their own brand of pending winter adventure.

I’ve always been impressed with those folks that keep our roads plowed over the course of the snow season. I’m even more so now that I understand everything they do to as part of their job.

As part of my learning curve, I ask a significant amount of questions regarding plow operations and day-to-day activities corresponding with completing their plowing responsibilities. Allow me to pass along a few of the big things we, as the recipients of their work effort, could do to make their job safer and more effective:

  • Don’t pass a snowplow. They are concentrating on what is in front of them. They are placing salt in specific areas, in specific amounts. A vehicle passing at the wrong time could easily cause an accident for him, you, others, or any combination of the aforementioned.
  • Don’t tailgate a snowplow. They stop often, and that is not beneficial for the front end of your vehicle, unless you want it recontoured.
  • Don’t park on the street. The idea is for the operator to be able to clear the street, not create an igloo over your car.
  • It is against the law to push snow from your driveway out into the street. This hinders the operator’s clearing efforts and creates a dangerous hazard for other traffic traveling your street. This applies to the plow company you hired to clear your driveway also. (In the contest of who can push the most snow and where, county operators always win anyway).
  • On trash-collection day, place your garbage can in the clear zone of your driveway behind the roadway snowbank 2 to 3 feet. Allied Waste trucks can reach the can if there is no snow piled between the can and their truck and our plow operators won’t have to play "dodge the can."

    We all want our roads to be plowed first, but please understand that the school-bus routes and the major roads must have priority before we can get to individual subdivision roads. Those of you privileged to have the privacy and minimal traffic that correspond with living on a cul-de-sac must understand that you will also receive the lowest priority for plowing, which is still very good service.

    The Summit County Public Works plow operators appreciate your consideration in following these few requests. By doing these few things it will help us all improve winter road safety throughout the county. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to wave and smile the next time they plow by. They do a great job in very adverse conditions.


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