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Latest harsh weather event a challenge for city workers

Not all snow events are created equal.

With the mixture of sleet and snow Grayson County received during the late-night hours of Sunday and into the early morning hours of Monday, road salt and Leitchfield Public Works’ manpower -- the workers charged with keeping Leitchfield streets clear -- were stretched thin. This on top of an already uncharacteristically brutal winter.

On Tuesday afternoon, K105 caught up with Leitchfield Public Works Superintendent Eric Puckett as he cleared Beaver Dam Creek Road.

“It’s been a long couple of days,” Puckett said about the work it has taken to make Leitchfield streets passable, before, during and after the actual precipitation fell from the sky.

The snow and ice event that exited the Bluegrass yesterday afternoon left a trail of an icy/snow mixture which has proved to be difficult to remove from the roadways. Even with sunshine doing its part, the still unseasonably cold weather has made the work of clearing streets of the compacted combination of ice and snow all the more challenging.

“We had so much sleet before the snow came, then it was a heavy snow” making a mixture “which is much harder to get rid of,” explained the 18-year veteran of the Leitchfield Public Works Department.

But diligently the Leitchfield Public Works crews have toiled, putting in, according to Puckett, an additional six to eight more work hours -- than normal -- over the last two days. Working in shifts so no one person was overwhelmed by the workload eased the strain of facing such a monumental task.

According to Leitchfield Public Works Director Sheila Puckett, the city used 52 tons of salt to coat the highways and byways of Leitchfield, both as a preemptive step and an after-the-fact measure to keep streets clear.

Plenty of salt remains, though, with this winter being one of the most precipitation heavy winters in recent memory, one shouldn’t be surprised to encounter yet another dose of the white stuff before Spring officially arrives on March 20 at 11:57 p.m..

By way of comparison, Sheila Puckett notes that the city, from January 1, 2013 to end of season, used 69.75 Tons of salt and 40.75 overtime hours. And from December 6, 2013 to the March 3, 2014 event, the city used 208 Tons of Salt and 139.25 overtime hours.

"We currently have approximately 70 to 80 tons (of salt) on site, with approximately 85 tons stored off site," Sheila Puckett said about the remaining salt reserve.

With 26 overtime manhours used during this last snow event alone, plus 35 regular hours, the workers responsible for keeping Leitchfield's streets safe have earned their keep, and the thanks of the woman in charge.

"We have been using every piece of snow removal equipment we have since about 3:30 a.m. on Monday," Sheila Puckett noted. "I am very lucky to have a great staff with the experience of snow removal working with me. They work at it until it is gone, and I am very thankful of that."


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Topics : Weather
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Locations : Grayson County
People : Eric PuckettSheila Puckett
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