PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Public Works crews have been at the forefront of clean up efforts from the recent snowfall.
In addition to the preparations done days before Thursday’s snowfall, crews were out on the roads at 7:00 a.m. prepping and taking action on the streets using salt, liquid brine and plows.
“They’ve started that 12-hour continuous shift to where our crews will be out on the streets continuously,” Nick McMillion, Communications Specialist for the Public Works Department, said. “What they’ve been doing is treating the primary arterial streets throughout the city and that’s about 168 miles of roadway throughout the city.”
McMillion said the rock salt and liquid application of brine is the first line of defense to keep the roadways from freezing over. He said crews were focusing on the main roads before heading to the residential areas and they were also finding themselves battling more than just the snow.
“With this storm we’re looking at a couple of things, it’s not necessarily the snowfall that will be the main factor with this storm,” McMillion said. “It is the temperature drops and also the winds.”
“Obviously salt loses some of its effectiveness when the temperature drops,” McMillion said. “But with that brine solution – that brine solution works at a lot lower temperature usually around zero degrees or a little bit lower.”
Jeff Childers has worked for the Public Works Department since 2014.
He said he had to plow the same roads multiple times on Thursday as the winds were constantly blowing snow over freshly plowed pavement.
“I’ve plowed this street probably three times already,” Childers said.
While tackling the city’s 21 routes, Childers said he was just one of more than 55 people working in traffic operations during his shift.
He said Thursday started pretty warm with dry snow but the impending cold would add more challenges.
But Childers in addition to the hills and hazardous sites on his route, he said one of his biggest challenges while plowing and treating the roads aren’t the temperatures, but the traffic.
“You’ve got people that are in a hurry, you’ve got people that they feel like you’re in their way and they have to get to where they need to go right now and you’re in their way,” Childers said. “The safest spot for you as a driver in behind me. So my recommendation, take your time, give yourself a few more minutes, slow down.”
He also said to never slam on your breaks in front of a plow truck.
“Because I’m not going to hit you, I’m going to go through you if I do hit you because we’re obviously a lot heavier,” Childers said.
He said each winter storm is different, but the Public Works staff is used to adapting to the conditions and pushing through.
“You work outside long enough, you watch the weather, you kind of know what you may or may not get,” Childers said. “There are challenges that present themselves on the way. You know it’s going to snow, you know it’s going to be cold, you know it’s going to be slick, the trucks are going to break down, it’s cold we get it.”
“You just keep battling it and keep moving forward and luckily we have enough equipment that if one [truck] breaks down the mechanic will grab ahold of it, we’ll grab another one and eventually it will quit snowing,” Childers said.