Old man winter may not have unleashed his wraith on Central New York yet, but that doesn't mean the local highway departments aren't gearing up for a busy season.
"We operate by the season," said Gary Wilmer, DPW superintendent for North Syracuse. "Right now we're removing leaves in people's yards, but soon, it will be snow removal."
Removing snow is a job that requires weeks of preparation, Wilmer said.
"We got to get the trucks fitted with plows and make sure we have parts for anything that needs it," he said.
Wilmer and his 7-man crew have been tinkering with the two main plow trucks and one backup truck since Columbus Day. Wilmer is responsible for keeping 26 miles of village road cleared.
To do that, the village DPW will use a mix of salt and sand. It's a balancing act to get the right proportions of both substances for the mix.
"As the temperature lowers, salt becomes less and less effective," Wilmer said. "And we use the sand to give the whole substance more grit.
Wilmer said some aesthetically oriented ornaments in town, like the chamber banners, may be removed to help keep the road cleared for plows.
"We also removed the planters hung up around town," he said.
Cicero all set to go
In Cicero, Highway Superintendent Chris Woznack and his 19-man crew have already put the plows, wings, and sanders on many of the town's 18 trucks.
Woznack is responsible for over 135 miles of road in the area, including 10 miles of county streets. To manage that kind of distance, the town has ordered 8 tons of salt to help slow the snow down.
Both superintendents are asking that residents please obey the off street parking, which is in effect from Nov. 15 to April 15. Any portable basketball hoops also need to go, Woznica said.
"The police department has been fantastic in keeping people off the roads," Wilmer said. "They'll ticket you at first, but if the problem becomes persistent, they'll tow you."