COVID-19 & snow plow delays

News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY (WCIA) — We have not had our first snow, but it is coming and when it does, you may need extra patience for plow drivers. That is because, just like other jobs, they may have to be isolated or quarantined and that would leave them short-staffed.

It is too soon to say how much longer people could be waiting. That is because it will depend on who is out to quarantine or isolate at the same time it snows. But it could mean waiting a few more hours or even a few more days than usual for them to get to your street.

“Our crews are working on making sure all our plows are on, all our spreader boxes are on,” said David Speicher, IDOT District 5 Operations engineer.

Winter is not here yet, but it is not far away. We all know what comes along with that. That is why IDOT plow drivers have been gearing up.

“We will do everything we can to make sure we have all our trucks out and all our people out,” said Speicher. But like just about everything else, even snow plowing could be affected by COVID-19.

“We’re cognizant and recognize the fact that there may be times when we have a reduced number of people,” said Speicher. “Instead of having 24 our, we may have 20 out, and what that means for the traveling public is our trucks will have to have longer cycle times.”

The City of Champaign is facing the same issue. The City’s code actually gives them a limited amount of time to finish plowing.

“Our goal, which is outlined in the policy, is to have primary routes cleared to near bare pavement within 12 hours post…once the snow stops falling,” said Kris Koester, Champaign Public Works. But with some out to quarantine or isolate, it could be a lot longer. That is why they recently chose to waive those limits.

“It could appear that it is taking longer, and so someone might think…well, usually they have this all cleaned up by now and there may still have some snow on those.” That is why it is more crucial than ever before to think twice before leaving home.

“People should generally be staying home anyway and people generally do, and that becomes even more important in snow events, right? Do you really need to take that trip?”

That waiver previously mentioned eliminates all time limits for drivers. So it does not establish a new amount of time they have to finish plowing. It just gives them the freedom to take as long as they need.

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