Crews Working Hard To Clear Snow In Mid-Michigan

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

The snowstorm pretty much made it an all-nighter for snow plow guys in Mid-Michigan, and the job isn't done yet.

Lansing had plows out by 11:00 p.m. Thursday night, and all the major roads were cleared by 2:00 p.m. Friday. Then, they started focusing on the local neighborhoods, and it was all hands on deck.

"All of our parks and recreation people, all the grounds people, and all the forestry division," Lansing Director of Public Services Chad Gamble said. "So, that brings all of our sort of snow clearing operational team members to over 50 people. They're out working in and around the city to keep the city safe for pedestrians and vehicles alike."

Gamble said Lansing was on top of this storm, and the biggest challenge now is the wind.

"We're hoping that doesn't cause any additional drifting that may cause us to go back on the trunk-lines to go back on the sidewalks and re-clear them," Gamble said.

Because Lansing requires people to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours, many folks are also hoping that drifting doesn't happen - even if they're not the ones shoveling.

"When your neighborhood consists mostly of people of my age group and older, it is very, very hard," 77-year-old Emly Horne said.

Horne and her friends in Old Everett usually hire someone to take care of their driveways, but that can be expensive.

"You kind of put that in your budget," Horne said. "You have to give and take in your own life, especially when you have a great big storm like this."

But a $150 fine from the city for not clearing it is probably worse, so Gamble recommends contacting a volunteer group or relying on a friendly neighbor.

"We're all asking people to do their job to keep the city sidewalks clear and safe," Gamble said. "That keeps people, kids, the elderly, the handicapped from walking in the streets and walking safely on the sidewalks."

The same rule applies to businesses.

Lansing expects crews to be out through at least Saturday, which means no parking on city streets from 2:00 to 5:00 a.m. Avoiding parking on all streets could speed up the clearing efforts though.

Some communities north of Lansing were hit even harder though, like St. Johns.

The Clinton County Road Commission said even though they're working more hours than usual, they're happy Michigan winter is finally here.

"A lot of our drivers like to be able to," Clinton County Road Commissioner Joe Pulver said. "This is what we're here for a number of them, so it's a chance to show their talents."

Clinton County crews are working at least 16 hour shifts to get all the roads cleared, and others are doing their part, too.

"The kids were excited about having a snow day at school, but they also know that means that they're going to be helping me take care of our neighbors and our own," Chris Deliso said.

His sons didn't mind at all, even when they had to do it the old-fashioned way.

"We had three snow blowers, but one went down, so I had to do shovel duty," 7th grader Joe Deliso said.

While their friends were out snowmobiling, they were hard at work, but there's time to play this weekend.

"We'll go sledding, and if it freezes up, maybe some skating, too," 10th grader Dominic Deliso said.

Freezing isn't what the road commission is worried about though, it's the wind out of the north.

"It's creating repeat visits on the main roads, on the east-west roads," Pulver said. "So, we're trying to keep those open, but if you have to keep going back, it kind of slows the process down."

They're using the entire fleet, so you can expect to see trucks throughout Clinton County over the weekend.

"Things are moving along," Pulver said. "I think people understand that it takes a little time to get to everything. Give our drivers wide birth, and let us get it cleaned up for you."

The Deliso brothers are here to help, too.

"It's not as bad as you'd think," Joe said.

Clinton County has more than 1,400 miles of roads to take care of. They've already used nearly 3,000 tons of salt this season.


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