Snow removal under control

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Despite the many snow banks that continue to line the city’s streets, road crews with the City of Dowagiac have yet to run out of places to dump the cold stuff.

With the recent break in the weather, the city’s fleet of four plow trucks has focused its attention on removing snow from local roadsides and parking lots and pulling it into the city’s snow storage site, located on Middle Crossing across from the airport.

While the snowstorms have taken their toll on available space, crews still have room to work with for future snowfalls, said James Bradford, the city’s director of public services.

“We probably have enough room for two more storms,” Bradford said. “Then we will have to find an alternative site. We’re still determining where we can find one.”

Bradford said his office is looking into neighboring vacant lots or soccer fields as possible places to dump potential excess snow. However, he is optimistic that such measures won’t be necessary, as the region expects to see higher temperatures over the next several weeks, he said.

“In the next two weeks, we hope that conditions will warm up and melt some of the snow we have in storage,” Bradford said.

While the crews have tried to stay on top of eliminating snow banks, the regular blizzards seen over the last several months have put a strain on their operations and budget, Bradford said.

“It just keeps snowing, you’ll get a day off and it snows again,” he said. “It has been tough on our guys.”

The city currently has a crew of six fulltime employees to man their vehicles, along with six backup workers. While the city is only responsible for removing snow from parking lots and streets in the downtown area, its vehicles must clear all the roadways within city limits, Bradford said.

“We’ve had every driver out on the roads the last two, three weeks,” Bradford said.

While frustration over the accumulated snow is understandable, residents are urged to keep snow removed from driveways off of streets and sidewalks, in order to help facilitate future roadwork, Bradford said.

“Residents have worked quite well with us so far, but it’s getting to the point where most of us haven’t seen this type of snowfall in quite some time,” Bradford added.