Get to Know Your Snow Plow Crew
As Originally Seen in the Clock Tower: Winter 2013-2014
Whether you live or work in the City of Sun Prairie, you are using the services of our Public Works Department every day. The Public Works crew also works in tandem with the Parks and Storm Water crews, as they are all cross-trained to assist in all 3 divisions. The cross training allows our crew to wear many hats. Some of the services they provide are street repair and maintenance, traffic sign and signal maintenance, park mowing and maintenance, storm drainage, staffing after work hour events, upkeep of the Recycle Center, planting and trimming city trees, and clearing city streets, bike paths, parking lots and some of the sidewalks of snow.
With winter quickly approaching, our crew is inspecting and readying vehicles for plowing. The entire full-time crews of all 3 divisions, along with our Fleet Maintenance Technicians and hired contractor, make up our snow plow team.
City of Sun Prairie snow plow drivers are trained professionals. Like any professionals they are also husbands, fathers, sons, grandparents, neighbors. These drivers are hardworking, confident, knowledgeable, safe and reliable. They strive to keep your streets clear and travelable. Nick, Steve, Ed, Jason, Justin, Josh, Travis, Gianderson, David, Jason, Tom, Jeff, Scott, Joe, Eddie, Al, Nick, Barry, and Buck take pride in the plowing services they provide residents. Regardless of how long they have been plowing (2 to 34 years), their commonality is that they like doing their job well.
Plowing in a city of over 30,000 residents can be a challenge! Our drivers constantly run into problems with winter street parking and refuse / recycle carts placed in the street rather than curbside or at the end of residential driveways. Residents will call in thinking our drivers purposefully did not plow close to the curb. Drivers do not want to plow far away from the curb, but if parked cars or collection carts are in the street, they have to drive around them to avoid damage.
Sometimes the weight of the snow coming off the plow will knock down a mailbox and sometimes a driver may hit mailboxes when plowing along the curb line. Mailbox damage, however, is often due to incorrect mailbox placement. To help our drivers, please check to see if your mailbox is placed properly. If possible, conduct an annual check on your mailbox before the snow falls. Over time, your mailbox may have shifted. The ground settles and shift, and your support post may rot, which could cause your mailbox to sink, tip forward or be weakened so that it is unable to handle the weight of the snow being pushed against it.
Another common plowing occurrence is snow piling up in front of your driveways and mailboxes, and spilling onto sidewalks. Depending on the amount and weight of the snow, we understand this can be a real problem for residents to clean up. Last winter, the city received over 70 inches of snow, which occurred over 17 storm events. Due to the length of these storm events, more than one plowing of city streets was required. With 129+ miles of city streets, and realizing most residents need to get to and from work, our plow crew starts by opening the main, heavily traveled streets. Public Works staff is out early to plow before your morning commute begins, and they will do the same for the evening commute until the snow event ends when they begin a full city plowing. Therefore, the timing of the snow plow clearing on your street will depend on when the storm completely ends, and it may take 7-10 hours or more to clear all city streets.
Our drivers can be plowing for up to 16 hours at a time and are called away from their families on evenings, weekends and holidays. Also, these drivers have the same amount of snow at the end of their driveways as you. It can be tiring and challenging work; when you can, remember to show your appreciation. The best way to do that is by following city guidelines regarding winter street parking, proper collection cart placement, proper mailbox placement, and by exercising patience and understanding. City plow drivers are doing their absolute best to take care of city residents' winter plowing needs, as well as working hard year round to keep our city in good, working order.