Frank Speziale photo
NORWICH - This Wednesday when most were at home taking shelter from the inclement weather; there were those who were working double shifts, that were down equipment, and still facing the storm to help others in need.
According to Mechanic Lenny Mills, days like that at the City of Norwich Department of Public Works can get incredibly difficult.
“Our department has been at it since 7 a.m., we’re four people short, and I’ve still got several plows that still need to be fixed.” Mills explained.
With the weather producing significant snow, and the department being momentarily short staffed, Mills said that road workers may be forced to stay a considerable amount beyond their normal shifts.
“The worst part is, when we get done here, then we have to go home and plow there as well.” he added.
When asked how the public responds to their work he said, “Unfortunately a lot people call the department with complaints.”
Mills explained that many are confused as to why their roads haven’t been done yet, and others who call about their driveways being blocked off with snow.
“A lot of people don’t understand,” he continued, “when we go down the street half goes to one side and the other half goes to the other. There’s nowhere else it can go.”
Before he had to head back to work, Mills suggested for those who can, “Stay home, and we’ll do our jobs so you guys can get around safely.”
The Chenango County Director of Public Works, Shawn Fry agreed and advised for those who can’t stay home, “Please slow down per the road conditions, and allow yourself plenty of extra time for you to get to where you have to travel.”
Fry says that it’s not uncommon for the department to find people during the storm who are off the road, and “When we see someone in the ditch we try our best to work around them, and to assist emergency responders”
The Norwich Police and New York State police did not report any major issues and said crews were working throughout the storm to keep roads clear.