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Why do the roadway plow drivers go over the same areas that are already plowed?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by jtp10181, Jan 13, 2010.

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  1. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Ok I know there is at least one plow driver on this site, maybe some more. So maybe this is for a reason? Please let me know.

    I have noticed that this year and in past years the plow drivers are seemingly wasting my tax dollars.

    So they have plowed the road, they have plowed the shoulder, they have plowed the GRASS next to the road! This to me actually does makes sense, they are clearing the snow as far away as they can, for when more snow comes, so they have someplace to push it to without running into the piles from the last storm.

    Now... days later, I still see plows out.
    Saw one last week going down a highway off to the side, looked like maybe he was clearing off the shoulder. After I got in front I looked back and there was almost nothing in the plow, and the area he was going over was already clear! The plow was down for sure, and I did not notice that he was salting (it would have been hitting my windshield), which there was no need for at the time anyway.

    Also seen this twice this year now, on the main highway from one side of town to the other some sections of the road are close together and there is just a small shoulder on the inside and then short a cement dividing wall. I think for the most part they try to plow the snow to the outside and its fairly clean on this inside shoulder. Now I keep seeing the plows go down tight to the cement wall and pushing the snow up against it and some over it to the other side. The only thing they are doing is rotating the snow around, there is just as much snow there before and after the plow (where is it going to go?). Its already as tight as it can get against the wall before they run past it. Then they will go back down the other side and push some back over the wall the other way again, and stirring the rest of it up some more.

    So...
    Does anyone see this in other cities?
    Does anyone know WHY they are doing this?

    To me it seems like they are just milking the system for every hour they can be working, but maybe I am wrong.

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  2. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Sometimes they are slushing, pushing slush off the road before a freeze.

    Sometimes they are icing, trying to scrape ice up.

    Personaly, I would rather see them out more than less, arround here the state roads get cleared really well, while the town maintained roads leave a lot to be desired.
  3. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    The crews and the planners here are great. They do an amazing job when conditions call for it and don't seem to waste much when not required.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Plows cover a large area and it could be simply a small regional area with no snow that they are going through. Could be that where they were dispatched from there was more snow.
  5. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Dune, I will watch for your thoeries and see. I don't remeber there being any slush out on the main highway, as it was already very cold. Also no ice, because they put so much damned salt down its dry as bone.
  6. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    drifting snow sometimes (especially on highways) but on public streets usually due to A-HOLES that push the snow from thier driveway out into the street requiring the street to be replowed.
  7. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    It is true sometimes that they are just doing it to make more hours ( maybe overtime ). That does not bother me as much as seeing a government ( state, county, town ) plow go by on a road that needs to be plowed with the plow up. Some times the plow truck will plow say 10 miles on the southbound side of the highway he then needs to turn around and go back via the northbound side and if that was plowed already he still needs to travel it so they might as well try to clear something.
  8. Freefall_Doug

    Freefall_Doug New Member

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    Sometime I think they are just sucking up the public works overtime pay.

    I see the same thing by me. CT gets snow, but we don't get enough snow that you need to be clearing the grass to prepare for the next storm.

    Tax dollars at work, more people should be paid straight salary lol. Too much overtime on the state payroll, it is rediculous.
  9. charly

    charly Guest

    JTP 10181 ,It could have been a new driver out with a trainer, getting use to judging the wing plow, and using the controls. I plowed for DOT and sometimes we would shelf back the snow along side the road. That would remove about half of the top, of the bank of snow ,along side the road. Then the next storm, snow would not roll back into the road. We did go out and pay attention to detail to keep everything as safe as possible. Shoulders are important as to people using that lane ,when broke down,etc. They have to be able to, get off the road safely. Just be glad the roads are kept good. Anyone who thinks it's not a stressful job to begin with , should spend 12 hours behind the wheel one night , only being able to see about 10 feet in front you, the whole time, because of the snow rate.. I ran a double wing plow plus the main front plow myself. It'll keep your attention!!
  10. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    Could be they are on salt and sand patrol and the plowing is just an extra as they are driving around looking for patches of ice/wet areas.

    Could be they are just getting a fluff job here and there when there is not something to start outside or other...

    Could be some sort of evil plot...

    Could be that I do not know for sure...
  11. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    From the perspective of being Chair of our Township Board of Supervisors, roads are a never-ending source of grief from the public. If a nicely cleared road gets a small drift someplace, in come the complaining phone calls. Same thing with a patch of ice. And then our insurance carrier reminds us of our liability "once we know or should have known" of a road hazard. That's why we spend so much money on the roads, maybe even wasting tax dollars, because the "citizen" taxpayers complain; or because someone might be injured or killed, perhaps your child or mine, or your wife or mine.

    Life is too short to tolerate phone calls about this or that all the time. I'm probably one of those "irresponsible politicians" by caving in to the demands of the public. That said, we try our hardest to be conservative with the public dollars and still keep the public satisfied. And yet we find good people willing to do the public's business for about $100 bucks a month. I must be nuts to care enough to be willing to stand for election, be bad-mouthed, and worse.

    Got to go. Town Board meets in 35 minutes.
  12. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    If the city or township are considered liable for accidents caused by snowy road conditions then that would somewhat explain why they do this stuff. They are trying to make absolutely sure its all plowed really well, so everyone is safe.

    BTW I saw some plows out again today. It got a little warmer and stuff is starting to melt. They were clearing off the curbs that were not able to be cleared well before.
  13. dvellone

    dvellone Feeling the Heat

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    My wife and I have watched in amazement more than a few times while a plow truck goes by in the oncoming lane during a heavy snowfall with snow on the road and the plow is in the up position. Try to figure that one out!
  14. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    If its a county plow and they are going from one spot to another on a city road, they are not supposed to be plowing it I'm guessing. Politics...
  15. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Jurisdiction -- schmerisdiction. State plows state roads, county plows county roads, cities plow city roads, townships plow township roads, and never the twain shall meet. Each jurisdiction fights to protect its turf and its funding; every employee of each jurisdiction fights to keep his/her job.

    Easy when a person is on the outside to "see" that some other system makes common sense and probably saves money, but not so easy to see this when a person's job, livelihood, support of family, payment of the mortgage, trying to pay for health care, putting food on the table, etc., are at stake.

    How many of us would volunteer to give up our $50-70,000 (wages + benefits) job in govt or company so that the operation might become more efficient, especially with unemployment at 10%, when our job skill is one thing and the job market does need more of that skill, when a new job pays $7.25/hr (fed min wage) with no benefits and the current job pays $20+/hr + benefits, when our family's welfare is at stake, when a person's pride and identity as a worker is at stake, when a person is 50+ years old and hoping to retire before death?

    There is little doubt, with fed, state and local budget crises, that changes need to be and are being made. Long term public benefits are pretty clear; short and medium term adverse impact on affected workers and families is huge.

    How to solve is the issue. Perhaps all of us should consider having a little less so that all of us might have a little more. Oops! One of those nasty ***isms pops into the discussion. Probably better to have mega-millions have a lot less so that a few million might have lots more. After all, those few million are the job creators for the jobs that aren't here, right? And small business is the job creation answer? Average small business owner annual earnings are around $240,000, but I bet a little research would show that average small business non-supervisory employee annual earnings are about $20,000.

    So, the questions is: Can you support your family of four on $20,000 earnings/yr? How about these numbers: rent, if you're lucky, $800/month + utilities (phone, heat, light, water, sewer - $250/mo); groceries maybe $400/mo; clothing for you and the munchkins $100/mo; gas, maintenance, license, insurance, payments on the family's one car - $600/mo -- already running $5000 short for the year, and hope you don't have any medical expense, child care expenses, meals out, or savings for the rainy day; hope you don't need to fix or replace anything in your house, or give anything to church/charity, or take time off for a little R&R; and the list goes on.

    And the question is, what are the solutions to very complex issues with people's lives hanging in the balance?
  16. dvellone

    dvellone Feeling the Heat

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    No, these are NYSDOT trucks traveling over the state route they normally plow. I tend to be pretty highly suspicious of the milkers of OT. Used to witness the power company workers sitting in their trucks on my remote road waiting for that magic hour before they started repairing the power outage. Family that work for the same company attest to this as common practice in the more remote locations.
  17. mcmaxx

    mcmaxx Member

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    many ask why a plow truck is going over a road with its plow in the air? this is one reason, they are trying to get to the road that they are assigned to as quickly as possible and the road you see them on is not there assigned road. before you say why can't they do it as they are going to there road? when the plow is down and the snow is flying they must slow down as to not throw the snow into obstacles: homes,cars,people,and the dreaded mailboxes that are in the state right of ways to name a few, so as they are plowing the road that you would have them plowing and needing to slow down the road that they are assigned to is getting so bad that it is now dangerous and those people are saying were are all the plow trucks well there all caught up plowing there way there. If I sound a little harsh it is because I have spent the better part of the last two weeks clearing snow from the highways. There are many times when it seems we are doing stupid things but there is usually a reason for what we are doing , and some are stupid but it is at the order of there supervisor to do them. I can go on for days just ask and I will try to answer. Next time try thanking that plow truck driver for being out there when conditions are horrible so that you can be out there getting safely to your destination.
  18. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    OP was asking why a plow (assuming its in its proper territory) would be plowing what looks to be a fully cleared road.

    mcmaxx, please feel free to correct any misconceptions I have below:

    My guess is a couple days after the snow event, they're still cleaning up spots here and there. its likely a far better idea to just scrape the entire territory over again and be sure to get it all up rather than try to hit individual spots. You're talking about hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles of roads here and these trucks weigh in around 10-12 tons fully loadded...thats alot of mass to be stopping, aiming, drop the plow and move a small pile of snow...they also tend to rely more on maintaining inertia to blow snow, slush and ice off the road. These are not pickups doing driveways and cannot easily do spots, they're big heavy trucks that do a really good job in just moving along in a straight line.
  19. mcmaxx

    mcmaxx Member

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    many times people pass the plow truck as they are cleaning spots though they are small spots it makes it appear that they are plowing nothing. also on some secondary roads the lane may infact be dry and the edge have some snow on it this is usually the case so to some it seems as we plow back the edge they may think we are plowing nothing at all as it is hit and miss. Also the truck that i drive weighs in with two plows (front and wing) and 15 to 18 tons of of material plus truck itself comes in at 25 to 30 ton. There is alot going on in these trucks they are not only driving in that cab, they are driving, controlling spreaders,raising and lowering sometimes as many as three plows,and so on all while watching others on the road. Someone also ask why we plow some snow inside to the the concrete barrier? this is done when we cannot safely plow it to the outside because if we were to plow it one lane out to the right it would leave it in the traveling lanes not a good thing,it also may refreeze the entire lanes making a very bad condition,after a storm times we will get a plow train to safely get the snow across all lanes(a plow train is several trucks in line offset to get snow all the way across at onetime as to not leave it in the traveling lane)but in the meantime each driver does what he can to get the roads open and clear and sometimes we don't make the most popular choice or even the smartest ones but we try to make the safest ones possible.
  20. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    I didn't ask why snow is plowed to the inside. I was asking, why re-plow the snow on the inside shoulder barrier when it is already pushed up against the wall as far as it can. Basically just shuffling snow around and not getting anywhere with it.

    This was not meant to be a thread about bashing snow plow drivers. Just stating observations, and wondering if there were reasons. They talk about on the news how they went way over budget on snow removal last year, then you see things like this and it makes you wonder. Maybe they already covered this stuff on the news? I never watch it, just the little bit I get on the radio in the morning.
  21. mcmaxx

    mcmaxx Member

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    as they patrol there roads they very well may be trying to get every inch that they can push back as they travel through so that it is not a total waste.Maybe their attempt was fruitless and seemingly wasteful but if he had not tried someone would have something to say about that. This is my 13th winter with the DOT and I've seen it all out on the road been yelled at threatened by people and have seen others attacked so a little bashin never hurts we take it as part of the job. People should question the things that the government does and also the things they don't understand it keeps people in line and others informed.
  22. Oldmainer

    Oldmainer Member

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    Hello jtp10181...next time you see a plow truck plowin' air get his plate number and call the DOT or whoever runs the plowin' operation. I'm sure they would love to hear from you....:) Franklin
  23. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Not a bad idea, but I am trying to complain too hard about things I don't know anything about.

    People have brought up some good points here though, I will have to keep my eye out the next snowfall.

    BTW, I spend a lot of time on the road during the week, driving to 4-5 diff houses checking out fireplace projects. So I see lots of plows out and about.
  24. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    One of my peeves as a Town Meeting Member is that our Town gov't never budgets anything even CLOSE to the actual amount needed to pay for snow removal - by State Law, we have to have a balanced budget with snow removal being one of the few areas where they allow a Town to under budget - so for as long as I've been in Town Meeting, and I believe for well before that, the DPW budgets a totally unrealistic low number in the spring budget sessions, and then comes back in the fall demanding a big chunk of our "Free Cash" (the amount the gov't got in revenue that was greater than expected) be spent to make up the difference... This has the effect of inflating the budget as they spend the amount that should have been budgeted for snow and ice on other things instead.

    Gooserider
  25. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Town budgets in MN are a crap shoot. Maybe they are in MA too. First, our budget for Jan-Dec 2011 is approved by the voters in March 2010. Second, the budget gets converted to a tax levy by the County Auditor, and the Auditor estimates what tax aids will come from the state, if any, and subtracts that from the budget, and then sets the levy based on that calculation. The levy relates to taxes payable in 2011, which we get paid to us in June and December 2011, although the budget year starts in Jan.

    From Jan to May the legislature is in session, and anything goes, especially with state budget shortfalls now, meaning that the legislature can cut our 2010 state aids, which relate to the budget and tax levy approved in March 2009. And this year our 2010 aids were cut by the legislature while in session in 2009. Our 2010 aids may be cut further this year. The aids cut last year already put us in a deficit situation in 2010 and having to rely on reserves, if we were smart enough over the years to build reserves, and if the town voters were smart enough to let us do that rather than be the pitchmen for "no more taxes," and if the legislature would quit cutting aids because they see we have reserves. Same thing all over again for 2011, and every year.

    "Roads and Bridges" is the biggest part of our town budget. With global warming, urrr climate change, urrr warm/cold, snow/no snow, rain washouts/no rain washouts, wet/dry, ad nauseum, we set this budget on the averages of experience over the years, which includes some extra for unknowns, and some extra for reserves.

    Fortunately, our town voters, who approve the budget, are good to us on our local level in letting us levy enough to build reserves. So far we have been able to weather the vagaries of state legislative action, of economic ups and downs, and still provide good local services. We do all of this with no employees and contract for everything from private businesses. As mentioned in an earlier post, our town supervisors get $100/mo to do this, obviously an ample sum to endure the grief that comes from the public if we don't do everything "just right."
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