Snowplow drivers cover hundreds of miles this winter
LOGANSPORT, Ind. -- Logansport has been blanketed by around 15 inches of snow since the beginning of December, the National Weather Service recorded.
And while a fresh coat of white powder might cause frustration for some residents, it's just another day of opportunity for Logansport Street Department commissioner Tony Shanks and his crew.
"You have to plan your life around The Weather Channel," Shanks said, referring to the department's crew of eight snowplow drivers.
Since Dec. 9, 2017, Shanks said those eight men have logged 1,300 hours plowing and spreading salt and sand on the roughly 100 miles of Logansport streets.
This winter alone, the department has already gone through over 1,000 tons of sand and several hundred tons of salt.
And winter doesn't even officially end for six more weeks.
"This is the start of my third year as street commissioner," Shanks said, "and this is the worst I've seen in those three years."
Street Department Supervisor Bryan Gleitz agreed, using last Monday's snowstorm as an example.
"People think as soon as it starts snowing, you need to plow the streets," Gleitz said. "But if we're getting an 8-to-10-hour snow, we're fighting a losing battle. And we knew we were fighting a losing battle on Monday, so there was nothing we could do until it was done."
Each snowplow driver covers his own route around the city, and the two men said shifts can last as long as 12 hours depending on the amount of snowfall.
When a driver completes a lap on his route, he just loops back around and drives it again, the men said. It's a process that Shanks said can often seem endless.
"We plow from curb to curb," he said. "So 100 miles of streets, that's not figuring you're going down and back on them, so that's actually 200 miles of streets. And then if you go from curb to curb, that's about three times each, so that's 600 miles of streets for eight drivers."
Rick Wells is one of those drivers.
Wells - who has been with the department since 2013 - spent several hours Wednesday morning plowing away snow left behind by parked vehicles along his route.
Wells' route covers the "emergency arteries" of the city, like Market and Main streets, as well as Broadway and sections of Monticello Road. He also estimates that on snowy days, it takes about three hours to complete just one lap.
"A lot of that depends on what time we get the snow and how much snow we're getting," he said. "The main goal is to get the driving lanes open first and then get back to the curb."
And though the hours may seem monotonous, Wells said he really enjoys his job.
"I try to take as much pride in my job that I can," he said. "I just enjoy doing it. I remember watching snowplows when I was younger and thinking, 'wow, that would be fun.'"
But Wells said he also knows it's a thankless job at times. Admitting he's heard his share of public complaints, Wells said the crew always keeps the same goal in mind.
"We're doing the best we can to help the city of Logansport out and keep the roads safe," he said. "We're doing everything we can to do the best we can."
Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune, http://bit.ly/2E8FYAe
Information from: Pharos-Tribune, http://www.pharostribune.com