St. Johns Plow Drivers Fighting Losing Battle with Blowing Snow

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Thursday's late afternoon snow was enough to cause several Grand Ledge school buses to get stuck while trying to take kids home.

It's the very reason St. Johns schools didn't even open--the fourth day in a row classes have been cancelled.

Blowing snow is partly to blame, according to Joe Pulver, managing director for the Clinton County Road Commission, and it has plow drivers there fighting a losing battle.

"It's just relentless, it comes out of one direction gusting and then it gets done in that direction and comes from another direction," Pulver said.

Pulver said once the snow is cleared, more blows back into its place. Not to mention the county plow trucks aren't much of a match to the growing piles of frozen snow alongside the roads.

"Our trucks don't have any place to throw it anymore because the drifts are so huge so we're relying a lot more on the loaders and graters to push it back further," he said.

The crews in St. Johns are working 12-16 hour days trying to catch up.

"It's just unending, it'd be nice to be able to have some time to regroup and make sure the equipment is ready to fully function," Pulver said. "The equipment is getting tired, the people are getting tired, it's just unending."

The St. Johns school district covers more than 250 square miles of paved and unpaved roads, which plays a large factor in the decision to close school, according to St. Johns school superintendent Dedrick Martin.

"About two-thirds of the students on any given day are on our buses, so with that being considered we have to check a large geographical area." he said." That makes it a lot more challenging when compared to a lot of other districts."

Schools in St. Johns so far have had seven unplanned days off, with the exception of Riley and Eureka Elementary which have had nine and eight days respectively because of power outages.

To make up for the numerous snow days, the district is considering extending the current trimester by a week, and might also add on days to the end of the school year.

"We'd have to look at the implication on trimester exams and how we might deal with that," Martin said.

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