Plow drivers are dedicated to keeping the roads safe

Contributed photo
Otter Tail County has 24 snow plow drivers who cover 25 routes.

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

Snow plowing on Otter Tail County roads is a matter of public safety. County snowplow drivers are a dedicated crew. 

The removal of snow and ice from county roads is the most important job for the County Highway Department maintenance personnel during the winter months. Please use caution when you see a plow truck.

“We will work to get people home safely,” says County Engineer Krysten Foster.

County drivers plow 2,500 lane miles per snow event. It takes from 8 to 12 hours to plow a significant snow event with 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. a typical shift with only enough personnel to operate one shift daily.

Each area has a group leader who is responsible for watching the weather. If there is a 20 percent chance or greater of snow, the leader reports to work to assess the needs in their area.

“The drivers have a tough job in some pretty harsh conditions, but they work hard to get the roads cleared. We really appreciate the work they do,” said County Commissioner Dan Bucholz of rural Perham.

The goal is to keep people and products moving as efficiently and safely as possible on our county highways during adverse winter weather conditions. Work is done within the limits of the financial resources and staffing levels available to the Otter Tail County Highway Department. 

“Our deputies and emergency responders would not be able to respond to the emergency calls without the hard work of the county snow plow drivers,” said Otter Tail County Sheriff Barry Fitzgibbons. “Their work is greatly appreciated.”

One example of their dedication, during big snow events, is their willingness to plow openings to residences in the county to allow ambulances to get in to render care during medical emergencies.

“We are most thankful for this group of dedicated county employees who keep our roadways open during the winter months,” said County Board Chairman Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids.