SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Driving conditions are continuing to improve Thursday, thanks to the various crews around the tri-county area that have been clearing snow and ice from the roads.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says crews are still working on it, but they’ve done a good job so far clearing the roads. Macomb County had some of the highest snow fall totals from this blast of winter, up around eight inches, and Hackel said having extra money in the budget for new trucks that can clean two lanes at once was a blessing.
“These high-tech trucks that they have… depending on where they are at, they can move the blades from inside the vehicle, expand them out or retract them. So, these trucks apparently have been a godsend to these guys that are out there driving these roads, plowing these roads,” he said.
Hackel also said the Road Commission is using former employees on an hourly basis to beef up staffing as needed, and that’s helping keep the budget in line.
“We were lucky, I mean, the first part of the administration year I got rid of at least a half million dollars when it came to administration in the county. And right away what they did is they bought new trucks, a couple new trucks as well as put some money into new road projects, but the trucks were important to them,” he said.
And new equipment is something crews could use in Oakland County. Craig Bryson, with the Road Commission for Oakland County, said they have about 100 trucks out removing snow and salting roads, but the equipment they’re using is old and keeps breaking down.
“We have continued to have some mechanical issues due to the age of our fleet, with a lot of trucks breaking down and our mechanics working like crazy to keep them on the road, but that’s about where we are right now,” he said.
Bryson said having at least one new truck would make a world of a difference.
“My revenues remain low. We have not been able to buy a new truck in about six years, which is, you know, not much less than the life-expectancy of those trucks,” he said.
Meantime, Wayne County Chief Operating Officer Cindy Dingell said there are about 120 trucks working to clear the roads.
“People are working on overtime right now. The county is traditionally closed during the holidays, however our drivers are always prepared to come in to address an emergency,” she said.
Dingell said last year’s mild winter has helped crews out this season, as they now have more than enough of salt to coat the roads.