The process behind keeping Three Rivers’ roads safe and clear

THREE RIVERS — Four large dump trucks, three one-ton trucks, two crew leaders, and nine drivers worked in coordination to keep Three Rivers city roads safe and clear of snow buildup over the weekend.
“Without them the roads are not safe and passable,” Amy Roth, director of the Three Rivers’ Department of Public Services, said. “No one would be going anywhere, including any emergency services and even your trash pickup.”
Crew leader Tim Lewis said the city’s process after a heavy snowfall begins with an assessment of the accumulation of snow, and whether the snow will continue to fall. Following that assessment, the plows come out and three shifts cover the department around the clock.
Lewis said one driver begins each shift by maintaining safe “state routes,” which include North and South Main Street, and West and East Michigan Avenue. Once the state routes are drivable, the driver moves onto “major streets” that are marked with snow route street signs and include Broadway and Hoffman Streets.
Lewis said usually at that point, depending on the amount of snow, the driver would circle back and re-clear the state routes. Once the state routes and major streets “are safe to travel, and will remain safe to travel for a while,” the driver plows local and residential streets.
If the snow accumulation begins to become too much for the sole driver, Lewis said up to three additional drivers can come in to assist.
“What I tell them is when the storm ends up being like that, and we are struggling to keep up, don’t get ramped up. You need to take a step back to pay attention to what you are doing. That could be when equipment might break, you could get in an accident, and that is when you need to be calm and don’t let the storm overcome your skills,” Lewis said.

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