February 27, 2010


Road crews kept busy by major snowfall

First big snowstorm of the year dumped up to 20 inches in some areas around Cortland County

SnowfallJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Road crew workers look for a way to get a Virgil plow truck out of a ditch on Congdon Lane Friday morning after heavy snows coated the area.

Staff Reporter

Snowfall tapered off by midmorning Friday, but that didn’t mean quitting time for plow trucks clearing local roads.
The trucks had plenty to do clearing roads along the Cortland County Highway Department’s 13 plow routes and despite a few minor difficulties, things worked well, said Don Chambers, the county highway superintendent.
A few trucks were caught in the snow, he said, but there was no damage.
“Basically in the turnaround spots they (got) stuck, it happens occasionally,” Chambers said.
The first major snowstorm of the year dumped up to 20 inches in some areas around Cortland County. Snowfall began late Thursday night.
Chambers said his crews hit the road at 3:30 Friday morning and kept working through the day. Truck drivers were wrapping up their work in the late afternoon.
Things were worse in the early morning mainly due to the wind blowing hard, causing snowdrifts into the roads, Chambers said.
Some plow trucks needed a helping hand.
A Virgil town plow truck loaded with sand and salt became stuck in a ditch off the roadside of Congdon Lane midmorning.
Half the truck sank into the ditch and required assistance from Morey’s Towing and Recovery to pull it out. State police were also at the scene.
Rick Wilks, who drove the stuck plow truck, said he was trying to widen the road by clearing snow and thought he just got too close to the ditch.
A majority of the calls Rick and Rich towing responded to Friday during the snowstorm were from people stuck in their driveways, said Rhonda Smith, office manager for the towing company.
“It’s been steady all day and night,” Smith said Friday afternoon.
The heavy snow was not much of a surprise, Smith said, adding the months of January, February and March can be busy times for the towing company.
“With snow it’s guaranteed busy,” she said.
No major accidents were reported.
Ken Morey, owner of Morey’s Towing and Recovery, thought it was fortunate the worst accidents were vehicles stuck in ditches or off the road. That was to be expected, he said, but the bad weather still kept his towing company busy.
“It was non-stop,” Morey said. “We had guys running out all through the night.”
Despite the heavy snow, temperatures in the upper 20s helped highway personnel with clearing out the roads.
“Milder temperatures helped activate the salt and settle the snow down,” Chambers said.
Several more inches of snow accumulation were expected today with a chance of snow showers during the remainder of the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
Chambers said the worst of the snowfall has come and gone.


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