Local Road Commissions Prepared for Winter

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

It's the first sign that winter is right on our door step, the flurries were flying Friday morning.

"When we see flurries, it's OK, it's when we get the big events that we start thinking about budgets and start plowing streets," Lansing Public Service Director Chad Gamble said.

Speaking of budgets, Gamble said he had $1.8 million for winter maintenance last year, and they just barely made it. He has the same amount this year.

"If we have a harsh winter like last, it might get a little dicey," he said.

The good news? Thanks to the consolidation this year of the city's Parks and Recreation Department and Public Service Department, there are now more people available to plow.

"That brings in people that can be added to the fleet to be able to plow streets 24 hours per day," Gamble said. "That's a real benefit to customers."

At the Ingham County Road Commission the director said it will be business as usual compared to last year, but that's down in man power and resources from several years ago.

For instance, at 39, Ingham County has about a dozen fewer drivers than they used to have. Director Bill Conklin said the yearly trend of rising salt prices and fewer dollars in gas tax money, has put the squeeze on his department, and others across the state.

"The budgets for plowing and maintaining streets have taken a hit," Gamble said.

With less green, it's harder to remove all the white on major streets to local roads, but road commissions are doing their best -- all the while hoping Mother Nature gives them a break.

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