St. Louis Co. plow drivers working longer hours, staying on budget

By KBJR News 1

St. Louis Co. plow drivers working longer hours, staying on budget

December 4, 2013 Updated Dec 4, 2013 at 7:36 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Since Tuesday, and most likely into Thursday, Saint Louis County and city snow plows have been taking to the roads at four in the morning to clear the way for Northland commuters.

County plow drivers, who have a lot of area to cover, have also had to extend their evening shifts to accommodate for the return commute.

That's made it a 12 hour day for many drivers.

Last year's record breaking snowfall in May had county officials concerned about exceeding the annual salt budget, and pushing drivers into overtime hours.

But according to Saint Louis County Maintenance Engineer Pete Eakman, the $1.3 million worth of salt budgeted by the county was not exceeded.

Lower fuel costs also helped the County stay on track with the annual plowing budget, which starts over in January.

"It may have seemed like it was an issue, but it turned out not to be. We maybe panicked a little, worrying about it, [and] if had kept coming in May maybe it would've been a little different. But, it worked out fine," said Eakman inside the Pike Lake garage.

There are close to 35 snowplow trucks in Saint Louis County's District Five.

Meanwhile, Duluth Fire Chief John Strongitharm released a statement on the department's Facebook page, urging drivers to stay off the roads Wednesday night.

He says even major arteries have become snow covered, and slick with ice.

He urges drivers to stay off the roads and let the snowplow drivers do their work.

Billy Wagness
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