Public works crews to plow snow through the night

Public works crews to plow snow through the night

UPDATED 11:15 p.m.

CHAMPAIGN — Area snow plow drivers were scheduled to work throughout the night to keep streets and roads clear of snow, with additional crews available to take over on Friday if necessary.

Kris Koester, administrative services supervisor for Champaign public works, said a team of 14 trucks began plowing city streets at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, with another two trucks dedicated to plowing city parking lots.

A second shift of snow plow drivers were scheduled to take over for them beginning at 11:15 p.m. Thursday.

“Our plan is to have them continuing to plow through midday, with the goal of providing for the safety and well being of the city’s citizens and visitors,” Koester said. “We’ll monitor the weather, and if we have to extend plowing longer, we’ll do that.”

Koester announced late Thursday the department has decided to keep snow plow crews working around the clock through 11:30 p.m. Friday.

Koester said motorists are asked to take precautions when driving, including leaving early, allowing extra time to reach their destination, staying off the streets whenever possible, and being cautious around snowplows.

“In the event of two or more inches of accumulation, the public works director has the authority to activate the emergency snow routes and the sidewalk snow removal ordinance,” Koester said.

Urbana Public Works Operations Manager John Collins said his team finished salting operations late Thursday afternoon, and six trucks began plowing snow at 6:30 p.m.

“At midnight, we’ll have 10 to 12 trucks on the road plowing snow,” Collins said.

Tracy Wingler, maintenance supervisor for the Champaign County Highway Department, said eight drivers began plowing in rural areas at 3 p.m., with a second crew relieving them at 7 p.m.

“They’ll continue to plow until 7 a.m. Friday, at which time we’ll have another crew relieve them,” Wingler said. “The rural roads are pretty snow covered, but we got many of the county roads pre-salted before the storm arrived.”

Rantoul Public Works Director Greg Hazel said four drivers began salting streets at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and planned on keeping village streets clear of snow throughout the night.

“We have additional staff arriving at 2 a.m. to take over snow plowing until the storm is over,” Hazel said.

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SaintClarence27 wrote on February 22, 2013 at 8:02 am

I can't comment on Urbana (as I try to stay as far from Urbana as possible), but it seems that Champaign's Public Works did a good job. Overall, all of the major thoroughfares were plowed and salted very well, and the side streets were at least fairly clear. Not bad for one night's work!

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

The "twin cities" absurdity does impact snow, and ice removal also.  Drive Windsor Road to, and from work; and you will see the dividing line between the cities.  Champaign's Windsor Road is relatively cleared.  Urbana's Windsor Road is messy.

Two police departments, two fire departments, two park districts, two streets departments, two city councils, two mayors, two of everything with one street dividing them.  How much money does it cost to maintain two of everything in one metropolitan community? 

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Have any studies been done on this? Are there comparison studies - like with Bloomington-Normal, for instance? I'm curious as to what exactly the cost savings would be, though I'm less trusting of Urbana's mode of government (and quality thereof) than of Champaign's.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I do not know about any studies.  My experience over the past 40 plus years in the area has been the idenity loyalty of the residents.  People in Champaign shutter at being identified as from Urbana.  People in Urbana feel the same way about Champaign.  That is a generalization because not everyone clings to the individual community idenity; but it is puzzling why the residents of both cities have such a strong alliegance to one over the other.

The cost savings would be in the elimination of the economic competition.  There may be saving also on mundane necessities such as road salt, street repairs, duplication of services, and wholesale pricing of statues.