City Administrator Russell Rost said complaints to city hall about snow removal have been “heavy,” but that was expected.
Nearly 1 foot of snow fell on the Union area since Sunday and city crews have been working overtime to plow and treat city streets.
The amount of snow and the temperatures that followed made it difficult to quickly clean snow from the streets, Rost said.
There were between 10-11 inches of snow that fell in the Union area Sunday. That storm was followed by frigid temperatures with a high Monday near 0 degrees and lows about minus 10 degrees.
Rost explained that it was difficult to treat streets Sunday and Monday because salt is not as effective in temperatures below 25 degrees.
The warming and cooling of the atmosphere created a slush that was difficult to drive in Tuesday and Wednesday.
He added that city employees have been plowing daily and are working overtime.
“It’s been a drain financially on our manpower and on the cost of chemicals,” Rost said.
He said the city dipped into the 300 tons of salt that was on reserve.
Rost said residents have called questioning why highways are clear and city streets aren’t.
“The majority of complaints are that the highway is in better shape,” Rost said, “which is common because there is a higher traffic volume and higher speeds on highways — and they can use steel blades.”
The city of Union does use rubber blades on snowplows so the curbs, manholes and trucks aren’t damaged.
“That is why a lot of municipalities use rubber blades,” he said.
Another complaint that Rost often receives is that snow is plowed into driveways. In order to get the snow off the streets so it is safe to drive, snow has to be pushed to the sides of the road.
The city has over 80 miles of streets on which to lay cinders and plow. Crews treat larger streets first and then work their way to smaller streets.
“As complaints come in we try to address streets that we are made aware of,” Rost said.
According to Rost, this is the most challenging winter weather cleanup that he experienced since becoming the city administrator in Union.
“In the 7 1/2 years I’ve been here, this is the most difficult snow we’ve had to deal with,” he said. “We have had as much snow but not the atmospheric conditions.”
“Warming temperatures that we are experiencing and will for the next few days should pretty much alleviate the situation,” he added.