Snow Plows In SF Keeping Busy
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
February 10, 2013 6:06 PM
Those who keep roads clear and safe to drive on had their work cut out for them Sunday. Dozens of snow plows were clearing the roads of Sioux Falls.
"Snow is kind of fun,” said Chuck Putzier, snow plow driver for the city of Sioux Falls.
Putzier has been clearing the roads of Sioux Falls for the past 27 years. Beginning at midnight on Sunday, he and 33 other drivers took to the streets, ready to battle whatever mother nature left for them.
“Its a mix between rain, snow and sleet, we've had a little bit of everything,” Putzier said.
For 12 hours, Putzier was clearing snow and applying salt to the roads on the east side of Sioux Falls.
“So I do 10th street, to 26th street and from Highway 11 to Interstate I-229,” said Putzier.
Putzier drives those same 28 lane miles, for all 12 hours.
“That’s everything we have to plow in this area,” said Putzier. “I got to go up and back and up and back and up.”
But the ever-changing road conditions keep things interesting. Putzier said he also has a new gadget that makes his job a little more fun.
"We have computers now, they are pretty friendly. We just turn them on; we pick how much salt we want to put per lane mile,” said Putzier.
He said plows use a calcium chlorite salt mix on the 18 different routes the city has to plow. He said it continues to melt snow and ice long after it is applied.
“So once we put it down, it probably lasts anywhere from four to six hours,” Putzier said.
But with the amount of rain, sleet and snow that Sioux Falls received, 1800 tons of salt was needed to help clear the streets.
“Just keep going around and around in circles,” Putzier said.
When Putzier’s shift is over, its time to reload salt for the next driver.
City crews want to remind drivers that they should give snowplows a lot of room. It may be frustrating that plows drive slower than the speed limit, but they said it is for safety reasons.