When harsh snow and ice strike, crews from the City of Jackson Department of Public Works (DPW) are out in salt and plow trucks helping to make sure streets are safe to use.
Bob Stolarz is a DPW worker who’s been battling winter weather for more than 20 years in Jackson. “During big snow events, workers like myself often spend up to 12 hours a day behind the wheel of a plow or salt truck,” Stolarz said. Crews target major roads and emergency snow routes first and then turn their attention to neighborhood streets. Jackson's snow plowing map is available on the City website so residents can see the order crews follow. The City uses a mixture of salt and sodium chloride to treat roadways. Sodium chloride helps make the salt more effective during freezing cold temperatures.
Seeing as Jackson has many narrow neighborhood streets, the DPW asks residents to please remove parked vehicles from streets when there’s a winter weather event. “Removing vehicles from streets means the City can efficiently treat the roadways. Vehicles left on streets slows us down and often leads to big sections of streets not getting attention because it’s difficult for our large rigs to get around parked vehicles,” said DPW Supervisor Randy Lybarger.
As crews travel cautiously around vehicles, they also ask residents do the same for them. Drivers should keep their distances from salt and plow trucks so they can safely treat roads. That includes not following the trucks too closely, staying out of blind spots, and not trying to pass them. Attempting to pass these trucks during a weather event can cause serious crashes.
Residents should also be aware of a winter weather emergency being declared by the City. Depending on the severity of the event, residents may be asked to remove parked vehicles from streets or to stay off roads entirely. Information about winter weather emergencies is distributed through CodeRED, the City’s website, and social media. DPW crews appreciate the help they get from the community. “The more assistance we get from residents, the sooner roads will be made safer for everyone.” Stolarz said.
It’s also important to not forget about fire hydrants during the winter. Fire hydrants are often hidden by snow drifts and piles. Hydrants obscured by snow make them difficult for fire crews to find during an emergency and could delay response times.
This is a potential issue on every street, but especially along busy roads where more snow builds up from clearing efforts. While Jackson firefighters routinely dig out hydrants, the fire department is asking residents to help keep their neighborhood hydrants clear of snow.