On days after a snowstorm, workers from municipalities around the Upper Peninsula are helping to keep residents safe on the slippery winter roads.
“I always look forward to getting out and getting in the truck,”Chad Hightshoe, a Heavy Equipment Operator for the City of Marquette, said.
Snow removal is a fact of life in the Upper Peninsula. The speed with which it disappears from the streets and the work it takes to ensure everyone can travel safely is often taken for granted. Plow operators are working day in and day out to manage gathering precipitation from the very first snowfall of the season.
“In the beginning we’re, you know, we’re establishing the snowbanks in different locations, and you just keep building on them, and then of course, when the banks get so high, then we have to start hauling the stuff off,” Hightshoe said.
Safety is paramount when managing snow. Drivers can put themselves and plow operators at risk if they don’t keep their distance.
“Well, essentially, we would like to see everybody stay fifty feet away from us at all times,” Hightshoe said. “You know, because if you can’t see us, we’re definitely not going to be able to see you.”
Drivers should also avoid parking too close to corners or across the street from other cars, as it inhibits snow removal vehicles’ ability to maneuver in tight spots. Pedestrians should also be aware of plows and always walk against traffic.
“There are several instances where people are walking with the traffic, and we creep right up on them, and they don’t even know we’re there, and you know that could become a safety issue,” Hightshoe continued. “When you see us out here, we’re out here for you, so if you just give us a little bit of room, and we’ll gladly make the streets safe for you.”