CLIFTON PARK — After the season’s first real snow on Dec.9 and another just three days later, the town highway department’s wait for winter is over.
The highway department is vigilant in outlining do’s and don’t’s,” to keep people safe while crews are at work moving snow, Highway Superintendent Dahn Bull said. Mostly, Bull said, people should always pay attention to whether or not there are plows in their vicinity during bad weather.
If there is a plow nearby trying to clear an area, Bull urged drivers to give the vehicle adequate room to work.
“If you see a plow, don’t hesitate to give us 75 to 100 feet,” he said. “We’re out there to make sure the roads are clear.”
The plows go out whenever they are needed, Bull said, and there is sure to be at least a little traffic. Ideally, he said, plows will go out when there are fewer drivers out, but a majority of the time they have to plow when the heavy snow hits. It’s inevitably going to happen during rush hour at times.
“It’s kind of just getting ready for the worst,” he said of how the department prepares for the snow season. “It’s whenever the weather decides,” he said.
A significant of time is spent plowing intersections, Bull said. But plowing residential areas surrounded by shady trees, such as Ushers Road and Carlton Road, can be more difficult because the shade keeps the snow from melting.
However, if the plow drivers are in an area where there is direct sunlight, they can usually clear the area with plows in salt in 45 minutes at most.
Traffic on roads that have been salted can help clear areas as well, as the wheels crush the salt into the snow, creating a mixture called brine that leads the snow to melt faster.
During the winter, town residents should also make sure to avoid parking their cars on the road so as to not hamper plowing, said Bull. Some people, he said, might not realize that a storm is coming, and will leave their vehicles in the road overnight or during the day.
If a plow is blocked by a car parked in the road, Bull said, highway department employees will ask residents to move their vehicle out of the way.
He also urged that parents keep their children from playing or building snow forts near the road, a frequent occurrence in cul-de-sac areas, he said.
“We just ask that we keep [children] out of there,” he said.