Snow removal a costly affair

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Bill King told Allen County commissioners Thursday it cost about $38,000 during the week-long effort to clear snow and ice from the county’s 1,000 miles of roads.
“We consumed 3,500 gallons of fuel,” he said.
County forces began work Christmas Eve, before the storm that dumped five inches of snow and formed high drifts had concluded.
“We had some people out on Christmas Day and hit it hard on the weekend,” King said. “It takes a long time. With 1,000 miles of roads, that means you have 2,000 lane miles — roads carry traffic both ways — and motor graders travel only about 10 miles an hour when they’re pushing snow.”
At peak attack, six graders and four heavy trucks — all with blades attached to their fronts — were in use, as well as two large loaders.
King said he received many calls from residents wanting roads near their homes cleared, driveways dug out or help in freeing vehicles from drifts.
“We did all we could but everyone can’t be first,” he said. “We wanted to get all the roads open and to do that you have to approach the work systematically.”
Some farmers, recognizing the scope of the storm, helped by clearing snow from roads near their homes, assistance that “we really appreciated,” King said.
The Christmas storm was unusual for hereabouts.
The snowfall total wasn’t extraordinary, but strong winds whipped up drifts as high as six and eight feet, which complicated efforts to open roads. Some drifts were so deep they could be removed only by big front-end loaders.
“I’d prefer not to have to deal with another storm like that one anytime soon,” King said.

CREWS in the county, Iola and area towns faced another storm Saturday night that dropped about three inches of snow. That put blades back out clearing streets and roads. However, wind was minimal, which kept snow from drifting, and with temperatures well below freezing snow was dry enough that it could be brushed aside with relative ease.
Don Burns’ USD 257 maintenance crew also spent several hours Sunday clearing sidewalks and parking lots for students’ return to classes this morning after their two-week holiday break.
The forecast this week calls for flurries and bitterly cold temperatures.