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Port City’s DPW Prepared to Battle Old Man Winter

They are doing three shifts, a 24/7 operation, to keep the city streets snow-free

By Steve Yablonski

Keeping the Oswego roads cleared during the winter months can be a daunting task, but the city’s DPW is well-prepared.

There are about 380 miles of roadways in the Port City that have to be cleared during the winter.

“We have about a dozen plows. Usually, we have six to eight out on the road at any one time. It depends on the situation,” DPW Commissioner Tom Kells said.

Some of the hardest areas to plow are the dead-ends and places like that. “All the 481 cross-overs, in front of St. Lukes,” he added. “It can be difficult to maneuver a snowplow in some places.”

The East First Street Re-Design, which introduced additional greenspace and beautification, shouldn’t be any problem, the commissioner said.

“It’s not really any different; we haven’t done it yet. It’ll probably take a little bit more time,” he said. “Obviously, a big open road is a lot easier to plow. We’ve been doing this for a long time and do it as safely and efficiently as we can.”

If people keep their cars off the roads [parking] it helps the plow drivers immensely, he added.

There haven’t been any bad storms recently.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate, big time,” he agreed.

They are doing three shifts, a 24/7 operation, that they never used to do, he pointed out.

“We are out in front of the storms instead of reacting to them. That has made things a lot easier for the plows,” he said. “We are out putting salt on the roads prior to any heavy anticipated snowfalls. That makes cleanup that much easier to do.”

The city isn’t using any sand at all now.

“It’s all strictly salt and we use the brine as well; which is salt, salt water. We haven’t used sand in quite a long time,” he said. “Stopping using sand was a good move. We save a lot of time.

“Sometimes we have 16 guys out in the plows. If it isn’t that bad of a storm, we’ll only have half that many.”

“We are equipped to handle big storms. We have the payloaders and stuff like that. If we get heavy accumulation, we have the big snowblowers to do the sidewalks, bridges and other congested areas,” he said. “We can handle it. No plans have changed really. We know what an Oswego winter can be and we are prepared to handle it.”

Featured Image: Oswego DPW Commissioner Tom Kells goes over snow-removal plans for this coming winter.