I’ve never been to New York or Boston or any other major northern city, but I’ve always heard that public works crews in those places do a really good job of getting the snow off streets and making it possible for people to resume normal schedules pretty quickly.
Conversely, I’ve heard that cities and towns in North Carolina, where I’ve lived nearly all my life, aren’t very good at dealing with the snow.
The premise, of course, is that pubic works crews in North Carolina don’t have enough equipment or experience dealing with snow because it happens so rarely.
But after Sunday’s storm, I’d put Roxboro’s roads crew up against anybody, any where, any time.
And, yes, I understand that Roxboro gets more than its fair share of snow each year and that the public works crews here have more chances to enact their snow plans than other cities and towns in central and eastern North Carolina.
No matter how you cut it, though, it’s impressive to see how quickly the local public works folks get our streets passable.
On Sunday afternoon, before the sleet had even finished falling, I watched as a city truck came through our residential neighborhood, pushing the snow off to the edge of the road.
In other places I’ve lived my residential street would likely not have seen any kind of snow plow for two or three days after the storm.
By the time I left for work Monday morning, half the street was visible down to the pavement and the short drive into work was no more adventurous than any other day.
As Monday wore on, the conditions got better and better. My wife was able to leave Roxboro by midday to go to her job in Raleigh and she made it there in the normal amount of time it would have taken any other day.
Sunday’s snowstorm dropped between 13 and 15 inches on the ground, depending on where you live in Person County.
Regardless, it was a remarkably large storm for this early in the season. Remember winter doesn’t even officially begin until Dec. 21.
The business of making streets drivable is about much more than just scraping the snow up after it falls.
Roxboro workers were out applying brine to roads and streets – including residential streets – a day or two before the storm.
Clearing the streets after a big snowstorm like we had Sunday can’t be any fun.
The little bit of shoveling I did in my driveway and out in front of the office was not one bit of fun.
I can’t imagine that the folks who hook up to the plow blades look forward to that work, but they do it regardless and they do much more than I think is called for, which is wonderful.
We all benefit from a public works crew that is focused and intent on going above and beyond.