Plow drivers battling tough winter.

January 4, 2018

A road commission truck heads out for another round of plowing.

Plow drivers battling tough winter.

#OceanaCounty

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — This winter is starting out as one of the snowiest and coldest winters in recent years, and the Oceana County Road Commission plow drivers are in the front lines of the battle.

Oceana County Road Commission Managing Director Mark said his workers totaled 1,760 hours of regular time and 1,035 hours of overtime from Dec. 22, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018.

With “continuous snow” and temperatures in the single digits, the plow drivers are working nearly around the clock to keep the roads clear, Timmer said. Most of his first-shift drivers are working from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., and his second-shift crews are on the clock from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“The guys have been coming in on the weekends and holidays. These guys need a break — it takes its toll.”

With the frigid temperatures, salt does not melt the snow and ice. “The big challenge is that it’s so cold, we can’t put material down,” he said.

The sign in front of Hart United Methodist Church pretty much sums up how many Oceana County residents are feeling about the 2017/2018 winter so far.

The road commission has 22 full-time drivers and five additional seasonal drivers. They maintain 1,100 miles of county roads, as well as state roads, such US 31, M 20, M 120 and Oceana Drive/Business Route 31.

Timmer asks motorists to be cautious when driving near the plow trucks. “Give the trucks plenty of room,” he said. A motorist struck one of the road commission trucks Thursday morning, Jan. 4, on US 31, he said. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the truck is now temporarily out of service until it’s repaired.

Timmer advises motorists to slow down and allow plenty of space between vehicles. He said people should be driving 20-30 mph slower than they normally do on the highway in these conditions. They also should leave “several hundred feet” between cars for a safe distance.

“We’re doing the best we can,” he said. “We take it seriously. Be patient with us.”

This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

 

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