Snow & Ice Team on the job

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Lonnie Johnson, a light equipment operator with Covington’s Public Works Department, dumps a load of salt into a Kenworth dump truck. In the cab of the truck is Right-of-Way Division supervisor John Purnell and driver Jim Hammond.

Response ingredients? Planning, toughness, and little sleep

 
COVINGTON, Ky. - The City of Covington's Snow and Ice Team forfeited sleep and dipped into reserves of mental and physical toughness through the night to keep streets and roads safe to drive on this morning.
 
For the sixth time this winter, Public Works employees were called out to respond to bad weather, this storm a mix of freezing rain and light snow that wasn't particularly impressive but still had the potential to cause wrecks and injuries.
 
This "winter event" was a bit wishy-washy in its arrival, however.

Lonnie Johnson enters the salt dome for another scoop.

 
Parks and Facilities Supervisor Brad Schwenke - who is currently acting as "snow commander" under the Department's rotating schedule - said he initially scheduled the team to arrive at 10 p.m. Thursday, using weather forecasts and shared discussion among road crew supervisors around the region as a guide to stay ahead of the snow.
 
But then the precipitation didn't fall when it was supposed to.
 
"Everybody was sitting around, waiting. The forecast kept changing," Schwenke explained. "So we were watching things for a while, not just in Covington, but all around the area."
 
Eventually, Covington's team was sent home.

The bank shows laminated copies of various snow routes, some of which have been driven by the same salt truck drivers for years.

 
Then, a crew of five workers was called in at 12:30 a.m. to treat bridges and problem areas. And then the full Snow and Ice Team - a dozen members this time - was called back in at 4 a.m. about when the snow started sticking.
 
Throughout the morning, the area in front of the salt dome at the Public Works garage on Boron Drive was a bustle of activity, as dump trucks came in off the streets and into the yard to be loaded.
 
"They just kept at it," Schwenke said. "Tonight, we'll probably have to do it all over again."
 

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Posted on February 07, 2020.