2014 got off to a snowy start—prompting an around-the-clock response from INDOT.
It became clear on New Year’s Eve that keeping up with the snowfall was going to be a constant battle that was still being fought this morning.
“And our crews are on the roads 24 hours a day until the roads are clear,” said INDOT Spokesman Matt Deitchley from the garage in LaPorte. “We've been doing 12 hour alternating shifts, and it’s been very busy around here.”
While some marked the New Year’s Holiday by watching a ball drop in Times Square, others dropped a blade, bit the bullet and hit the road.
“My day is ending, I started at eleven o'clock last night and I’m getting off at eleven this morning and I'm ready,” said driver Darcy Grieger.
From drivers to mechanics to heavy equipment operators, the new year brought the same old story, and little hope of being home for the holiday.
“I guess I was prepared not to (be home),” said Grieger. “You know, we know that this is our job and I sort of knew I'd have to come in.”
Grieger says she has already been told to report back to work at 11:00 p.m. on Thursday.
“We have full call outs, all of our guys are out there working as hard as they can,” said Deitchley. “But in conditions like this, really want to advise people to expect difficult driving conditions. You can't expect clear pavement in weather like this.”
Geiger has been driving a plow for 20 years and says ever snowfall is different. “This one, like I said, is more challenging because of blowing and drifting snow, but you know sometimes it’s not too bad, we can get it cleaned up. Temperatures are playing havoc on us today; the salt is not working as well.”
Road salt tends to perform better when temperatures aren’t so bitter.
Clearing snow on a holiday is more costly. Drivers get paid for the holiday, and get paid again if they are called into work, but INDOT says it is not going to compromise safety in order to save money.
“We don’t skimp back because of cost,” said Deitchley. “Rest assured that holiday or not, weekend or not, 24 hours a day, we’re going to be on the roads when it needs to be out there.”