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Battling the blizzard

Two Osceola Street Department trucks sit after working hard salting and clearing Osceola city streets.
Two Osceola Street Department trucks sit after working hard salting and clearing Osceola city streets.

The Osceola Street Department had their work cut out for them after the blizzard hit town the morning of Nov. 25. When the snow began the trucks may not have been moving yet but the Street Department team was already working to make sure their vehicles were well maintained, ready to go and that the salt trucks were loaded.

The Osceola Street Department is made up of five men that will answer the call when rough weather strikes and keep the streets clear with their schedule and routes all mapped out.

“We only have three trucks. We have south of Highway 34, east of Highway 69 and west of Highway 69 down to Highway 34. And then the guy that does east on Highway 69 goes and helps on the south part of town,” said Mike Allen, Street Department Superintendent.

They also have to keep the more high traffic roads clear which include Fillmore Street, the road to the hospital, Washington Street, Highway 69, Highway 34 and Fillmore Street, the roads around the square, Southwestern Boulevard, the road past Wal-Mart and Clay Street/Casino Drive, the road to Lakeside Casino. City snow plow drivers keep the center lane clear on the side streets in order for people to be able to leave their houses if they have to.

“The Parks and Rec Department helped us out and did the depot and the sidewalks,” said Allen.

The Street Department team tries to wait until the storm is almost over before heading out with their plows. After the blizzard they began to plow in earnest around 4 p.m. Nov. 25 and got everything done after about 24 hours.

“We try to hit all the main streets and then work our way back all the way down to the alley’s,” said Allen.

In order to salt all the city streets this year after the blizzard 150-200 tons of salt had been used. The average amount of salt used by the City of Osceola in a winter is around 400 tons but the building that it’s stored in can hold 600 tons. With salt costing $70 per ton it costs the city on average $28,000 to salt the streets for a winter. There are also repairs to the vehicles after a big snow storm that must take place along with regular maintenance.

Even with all the work the Street Department does to keep roads clear they do recognize the work of property owners and residents who keep their side walks and drive ways scooped.

“You feel bad because once you’ve gone in the middle to keep everything open then you go to push it all back and you feel bad for the person that just scooped their driveway out because you just filled it again but there’s nothing you can do, you’ve got to get rid of it from the street,” said Allen.

The Street Department would also like to remind residents that they are not responsible for snow burying mailboxes, it is the residents responsibility to scoop the mailbox out.

“Sometimes we have to get close to covering up a fire hydrant. Maybe they could go out and scoop the fire hydrant out,” said Allen.

It is a team effort to keep Osceola clear after a big blizzard. The Osceola Street Department team worked together efficiently to clear the city streets and keep drivers safe on the roads.

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