Archived Story

City gears up for winter roads

Published 10:27am Tuesday, December 8, 2009

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

The presence of salt trucks on city streets Monday reminded many that winter is certainly here and forecasts are predicting more snow, more sleet and more trouble for motorists as the week goes on.
It may also mean more headaches for those city workers behind the wheel.

The street department struggled with a tighter financial belt and an almost down to the bone workforce last year.

Those challenges remain, Public Works Director Neil Coulston said Monday, “except it’s worse.”
The department is down one employee from last year, bringing it to a total of 10, with one cemetery employee who could be called on to help if needed.

“Revenues continue to drop,” Coulston said. “Money is still tight.”

Salt trucks will go out to designated routes, he said, which include some state highways and major streets.

Though those state highways will remain a priority, Coulston said the department will have to cut back or push back response times in some cases.

“We’ve been ordered to cut back on salting and plowing” on certain state highways, Coulston said.
The city also handles school routes but “those will fall father back on the response time,” he added.
Of course, Mother Nature will be the most impressionable factor in just how much the city’s street department will have to struggle against the elements and what motorists will have to deal with once the snow starts falling.

“I would make a plea to all property owners,” Coulston said, to maintain their walkways and driveways as the department works as hard as it can to get to all of its designated streets and parking lots.
“I know it’s hard on everyone,” he added. “I understand that. But we just don’t have the resources anymore,” as they did some 10 years ago.

Though times are very tough, Coulston said he wanted to make sure the public was aware that the city remains committed to doing the best job they can with what resources they do have.

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