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Letter: Snow Force plows through adversity with dedication


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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Mayor Kristen Brown

Columbus

Received: Jan. 31

Your safety is Priority No. 1 for those of us at the city of Columbus. When we refer to public safety, fire, rescue, emergency medical services and police protection come to mind.

In the winter months when Mother Nature confronts us with severe weather, the city provides another critical public safety service: snow and ice removal from our streets.

We are fortunate to have the hardest-working team in the snow business. Our snowplow operators are our city’s unsung heroes.

The city has 21 snowplows operated by drivers from the Street, Sanitation and Traffic departments, led by City Garage Operations Manager Bryan Burton. Our city snowplow operators ensure our streets are clear and safe, while working extremely long hours in the worst imaginable weather conditions.

After the blizzard on Dec. 26 and the subsequent snowstorm, the city’s Board of Public Works and Safety invited all city snowplow operators to the board’s first meeting of 2013 to kick off the new year the right way — by officially thanking this hard-working crew for their extraordinary efforts and proclaiming the day in their honor.

At that meeting, I also officially dubbed our snowplow operators the Columbus “Snow Force,” a nickname symbolizing their strength and dedication.

Consider the incredible work the Snow Force performed during the winter storms Dec. 21 through Jan. 1. They:

  • Worked 923 overtime hours, much of that time logged on 18-hour shifts from     4 a.m. to 10 p.m. two days in a row to fight effects of the blizzard on Dec. 26;
  • Drove almost 6,000 miles during those 11 days to clear the 257 miles of city streets multiple times (many streets require more than one pass to clear all lanes or to keep up with the falling snow);
  • Consumed more than 1,800 gallons of fuel, $6,100 worth; and
  • Spread 1,100 tons of salt, $72,000 worth, on city streets to help keep them from icing.

Attacking a snowstorm is no easy task, and every storm brings different challenges. Those on the Snow Force work grueling hours and do their absolute best to clear everyone’s streets as quickly and safely as possible.

Our primary focus is making sure the major arteries through the city are cleared first, because these affect the largest number of residents and motorists. These streets include Central Avenue, 25th Street, Taylor Road, Washington Street and 17th Street in front of Columbus Regional Hospital. State crews handle U.S. 31 and State Road 46. Our crews also will immediately clear any street for emergency situations so that our police and firefighters can respond.

Once the major streets are accessible, the Snow Force focuses on interior streets and housing additions according to pre-planned routes designed to ensure the most efficient job possible. We thank you for your patience and kindness to them as they work to serve you.

The Columbus Snow Force is well prepared and ready to answer the call whenever severe winter weather strikes our city. When it does, rest assured, the Snow Force will be with you!

Kristen Brown is the mayor of Columbus. She can be reached by phone at 376-2500 or by email at kbrown@columbus.in.gov.

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