'It's going to be a long night' Snow-plow operators keep local streets safe

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) -- "It's going to be a long night," said Brian Epright. "We're not going to see our families probably until Thursday."

The veteran highway foreman from Montgomery County was bundled up and ready to escort his snow-plow operator through their route. A storm was brewing, bringing highly-requested snowfall to the Delaware Valley.

"Being away from home, being out in the cold and helping people is what we've always done," said Epright.

He and the other essential workers will be pushing back against the snowfall until it subsides.

"If you like what you're doing, it's not a job for you," said Eric Lawrence, a ninth-year snow-plow operator. With a truck filled with gadgets and gizmos, Lawrence will clear the Schuylkill Expressway's ramps from King of Prussia to Conshohocken.

His plow is loaded with a mountain of salt before it dispatches from the Highway Maintenance Department in Norristown. PennDOT's District 6 deployed approximately 170 trucks of its own in addition to about 250 from contractors, according to John Clancy, Assistant Highway Maintenance Manager in Montgomery County.

Clancy shared some tips for drivers to ensure that snow-plow operators can do their job safely.

"If you have to be out on the road, we understand, just stay as far back as possible, at least six car lengths," he said.

Clancy, formerly a snow-plow operator himself, says he misses the excitement of the job.

"I love being here. I love being with my team," he said. "This isn't about me. It's about them. These guys and gals do the best job that they can every year."

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic's economic impact, Clancy encourages anyone interested to apply for a job with PennDOT regardless of experience.

"We have winter temp positions all the way from clerical work to tradesman helpers to our operators that you see," he said.

To learn more, visit their website.

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