FALCONER – With winter weather about to put its icy grip on Chautauqua County, city and county officials said crews and equipment are ready to roll.
They also urged area drivers to use caution to do their part to make plowing safer.
Brad Bentley, Director of Public Facilities, said the county highway crews and equipment are ready to go in what is an annual battle with snow and ice.
Bentley told WNYNewsNow that county salt barns are all full and his staff has been working on maintenance of equipment for the past two months in addition to county construction projects.
Bentley said drivers can rest assured because roadways are plowed by county, state and township crews.
The county has 33 plow trucks but more than 50 vehicles for winter work, including pickup trucks and other equipment.
“We actually have a lot of vehicles, it’s not just the plow trucks that do the work,” Bentley said.”We are prepared, all of our trucks are ready and we have our barns filled with salt.”
Mark Schlemmer, Senior Civil Engineer for the Jamestown Department of Public Works, said the city’s crews and equipment are ready and prepared to deal with whatever the weather is.
“I don’t foresee any problems,” he said. “The unfortunate reality is we’re still picking up leaves.”
He said standby shifts are slated for the weekend in case there is any significant snow accumulation.
The county has a history to bank on to estimate how much salt to use in any given winter, but can always acquire more during the winter season if needed.
“We have all of our barns full, as the winter goes on the snow amounts vary. Sometimes from a salt and sand quantity, when we have larger amounts of snow it actually requires less salt because we’re able to plow it off the roads first. It’s really when you get into the consecutive days of 2 to 4 inches (that) it’s harder to plow and we require more salt in the snow,” Bentley said.
Schlemmer said the city has plenty of salt stored for this winter’s use.
“Salt supply, we are good to go. Salt barns hold about 1,500 tons and that’s been stocked since spring.” he said. “We’ve got all our salt spreaders ready and about half of our plow trucks are equipped and ready to go. Unfortunately we have to use the other half for leaf collection so we can’t put the plows on them just yet.”
As for equipment maintenance, the county has been working on equipment for the past few months, Bentley said.
“We’ve been working on that for probably the last two months. You get a rainy day where you can’t do construction, we work on that, we’re prepared and ready to go,” he said.
Both officials discussed safety and cooperation from the public as keys to helping keep city and county roadways open.
“While our county plow operators are attempting to make our roads safe, I do encourage drivers not to add to the hazards of winter driving,” Bentley said. He asked drivers to reduce speed, keep a safe distance from plows and consider the road and weather conditions while driving.
In the city, the main problem is people failing to follow alternate parking laws, Schlemmer said.
“The biggest problem we have is when the cars don’t move over at the right time,” he said. “Those cars that fail to move over an hour or two after the 10 a.m. switch time really pose quite a problem and a lot of times our trucks can’t even get through the streets because there are cars parked on both sides of the street.”
“We urge people now, and through the rest of the winter to just be diligent to get those cars moved over on the correct side of street. We have, in the last few years, we’ve been trying to crack down on those cars because they’re usually the same people or the same cars.”