Columbia plow drivers prepare for upcoming winter season

Related Story

COLUMBIA - Columbia plow drivers participated in the annual Dry Snow Run to practice routes for the winter season Wednesday morning.

About 30 drivers were involved in this year's training. Columbia Public Works spokesperson, Barry Dalton, said the training helps drivers prepare for unexpected events.

“Some of our newer drivers practice our designated snow routes and our priority routes around the city, look for obstacles on the road or construction, or where cars are, may be parking, and that increases the safety when a major event happens,” he said.

The run began on Lakeview Avenue and continued to the Leroy Anderson Salt Dome, where the city stores salt and road treatment materials. Dalton said the city just received a fresh shipment of salt to prepare for big snow days.

He said the training is important since the weather is unpredictable and every snow storm calls for something different.

“Sometimes it might be 72 hours straight of working the streets and continuously using that salt, other times we can get away with just pre-treating the roads and that kind of handles it, it's on a per-event basis,” Dalton said.

He said salt is usually used for elevated areas, such as curves, intersections and bridges because those are the places that freeze and refreeze.

Richard Stone, engineering and operations manager, said, during a snowfall, plow drivers have certain streets they try to get to quickly.

"We have about 470 miles of what we call first and second priority routes. Those are the routes that we focus on first that we try to keep a clear wheel path that we available at all times," Stone said.

Wednesday, Drivers and city workers also placed notices on cars parked on emergency routes.

"Winter weather is upon us. Please remember there is no parking allowed on the Designated Snow Routes when there is two inches of snow," the flyers said.

The violation if parked on these roads are a $100 citation, or even towing.

Dalton said it’s important for drivers to steer clear of the plows because they can not see drivers very well.

“When it starts snowing, if everyone could move off the roads and make room for the plow drivers,” he said. “Please resist the urge to pass the plow or tailgate the plow.”