January 15, 2009

The never-ending task of snow removal

The never-ending task of snow removal

STU MERRY

People can only shake their heads and say, "unbelievable," about this year’s unusual weather.

After about 10 years of relatively mild winters and minimal snow, this winter is making up for lost time in a big way. With record snowfall amounts recorded in a number of cities across the state in December, January is stacking up to be another month for the record books.

The overabundance of snow is taxing city, county and state officials whose job it is to keep North Dakota roads drivable for motorists.

Dave Reinarts, who is also Garrison’s mayor, is a transportation technician with the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT). He, along with three coworkers, has been doing yeoman duty to keep local state highways cleared of snow. The four, based out of the Garrison shop, include Chris Magandy, Sylvin Brunsell, Jr., Mike Francis and Reinarts.

In spite of the present conditions, Reinarts said he enjoys the snow removal part of his job.

"Plowing snow is fun," he said. "Ice is not fun."

One of the hardest parts of plowing snow is maintaining visibility, especially during windy, snowy conditions.

Reinarts added that snow fog "is something else."

"And when we get ice on our windshields … we have no choice. We drive a lot with windshields that have a lot of ice. If we stopped to clean our windshields all the time we’d never keep up."

With such difficulties plowing snow that is swirling around the truck and battling frost and ice on the windshield, how does he keep from driving into the ditch? Reinarts said he takes comfort in one of the highway’s best safety features – the rumble strips.


The Weather Network