Plow crews prep for first big local snow

By WEEK Producer

February 20, 2013 Updated Feb 20, 2013 at 10:45 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- David Haste has been waiting all winter for this. Peoria's Streets, Sewers and Forestry Manager has checked out the equipment and his crews have the plows loaded with salt.

Now they are simply waiting on mother nature to bring the season's first big snow.

"As soon as we notice that we're getting some precipitation we'll start treating the primary streets," said Haste. "We do that so we eliminate the chance of any bond with the snow and the pavement."

Haste estimates plows will drop as much as 2,000 tons of salt on Peoria streets. They have plenty of it left over from two consecutive mild winters.

Since we have not experienced much snow Peoria street crews have not incurred much overtime. Most of that piles up with the snow.

The same is true in East Peoria where the lack of snow has reduced overtime pay significantly.

"Our overtime is probably half of what it normally would be," explained Rick Semonski, East Peoria's Supervisor of Streets. "Approximately half of it is for plowing snow, the other half is used for storms and stuff in the spring and fall."

Once those plows get out on the road, motorists will have more than just the snow to deal with.

"During the first snowstorm this year we had a couple of the Illinois Department of Transportation snow plows struck by vehicles that were following too closely or being impatient and trying to pass them," said Trooper Dustin Pierce of the Illinois State Police. "The snow plow drivers do a great job but they need to be allowed plenty of room so they can do their jobs."

Pierce recommends drivers slow down in the snow. He also advises keeping plenty of gas in your tank in case you get stuck and charge your cell phone and carry it with you.