Road crews short-staffed for early winter snowstorm

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 4:54 PM EST
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BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - Father Winter returned early this year to Michiana, and the lake-effect snow is pushing road crews to their limits.

Snow continues to blanket Southwestern Michigan, with areas in Berrien County receiving an additional two inches Friday, bringing their total to 15 inches in the last 48 hours.

Due to staffing shortages, Berrien County Road Department crews are plowing from 4 a.m. - 4 p.m. instead of working around the clock.

They focus on primary roads because they are more traveled and speed limits are usually higher, so safety risks when driving in snow increase.

“There are limitations on how long our drivers can safely operate the plows, and we take that into accordance,” said Berrien County Road Department Director Mark Heyliger. “So, right now, we’re just working through our priorities of primary roads, then local roads, and then subdivisions and dead ends.”

In addition to plowing, crews are laying down a salt/sand combination on the roads.

Officials at the road department want folks to know that they are working to clear the roads, but the safety of their drivers must be prioritized.

“In order to plow the roads and make the roads safe for the general public, we need to be safe as well, and we work to that end,” said Heyliger. “I understand the general public’s concern, and we just ask for your patience as we work through this event.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation plows Michigan state roads, US roads, and interstates, where city and local roads are plowed by county and municipal departments.

Road Crews will continue early Saturday morning after they access which roads require attention.