SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – With one of the first snow falls of the season on its way, Illinois Department of Transportation crews are gearing up for the weather ahead.

“We’ve been applying the blades to our plow trucks [and] been getting them ready for snow fighting evolutions,” Steven Beran, the IDOT District Six operations engineer, said. “We’ve also been out earlier today brining our bridges so they don’t freeze before the rest of the roadways do.”

Some drivers had the day off to rest as they get ready for their 12 hour shift of clearing the roads.

Crews have been filling up plows with salt to throw onto the streets to keep them from freezing, and IDOT has more than enough in their salt domes.

“We started preparing for this winter’s evolutions at the end of last winter so all of our salt domes are near capacity right now,” Beran said.

During the winter months, crews work 12 hour shifts clearing snow off the streets, switching with the next shift of drivers at around 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. At those times, Beran said workers refill the trucks with salt and salt brine. Then, the drivers head out on the road for 12 hours.

“As you can probably imagine, they get pretty tired towards the end of their duty shift of 12 hours. “Sometimes they have to take a break, so if you see them in a Casey’s getting a cup of coffee, cut them some slack.”

Beran said drivers should lookout for snow plows on the road and to make sure they give the trucks plenty of room to work. 

“Our snow plows are not fast moving machines, they drive relatively slow and sometimes they make sudden movements when they’re trying to clear the snow,” Beran said. “Give them some slack, cut them a break, don’t crowd the plow and give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going.”

Beran said IDOT is short staffed right now on drivers and it may take them a bit longer to get all the roads cleared, but he says that they’ll have enough drivers out overnight to get the job done.