Plow trucks taking a beating this winter

January 31, 2011 3:18:08 PM PST
If you think this winter has been tough on you, spare a thought for the plow trucks!

Workers were busy at the Burlington County Highway Dept. garage on Monday. That's because the snow that fell last week took a toll on the plowing equipment.

"The weight of the snow holding back the truck and puts a lot of stress on the transmissions and engines," said snow plow driver Brian Sheehan.

Not to mention the plows themselves. The heavy steel plow blades that come in contact with the road are bent, worn, or coming off because the bolts that hold them in place pop right out from the beating they take.

"Mostly, with the plow blades you've have to replace them. Here and there you get stuff bent from manhole covers," said welder Roger Briscoe.

"They keep coming in. You've got to replace the blade or you've got to replace the bolts."

"As the trucks are out there, working and plowing, they do wear down, so we've got to be here while they're out on the road," said supervisor Bill Miller. "As long as there are trucks on the road, we're here."

Meanwhile, at the county's Maple Ave. yard in Mt. Holly, the salt dome is nearly empty. Supervisors were anxious to get Monday's delivery of 1,500 tons of rock salt.

County and some municipal trucks have been pulling up all day long to load up before the storm so they can be ready to coat the roads. Because this is expected to be an ice event, crews will add calcium chloride to the salt which makes it more effective.

"When we do need calcium chloride, which we call a hot load, it activates the salt quicker," said Highway Supervisor Frank Somes. "It speeds up the process of the salt melting the ice."