Plow drivers fatigued with busy winter

Plow drivers said this is one of the worst winters they've experienced.
Plow drivers said this is one of the worst winters they've experienced.

For plow drivers in some more rural counties in Northeast Indiana, eight foot drifts and snow-created road blocks have been the norm this month. With the constant snow and cold weather, plow drivers said they are as busy as they’ve been in decades.

Tim Blake has been driving plows for 34 years in Whitley County. He said he hasn’t seen a winter this bad in almost that long. In fact, not since January of 1982, a month of record snowfall that we’re close to tying.

“We go out and plow for 12 hours, and we’ll start getting ahead of everything…. and the wind blows and the snow comes, and you start all over again the next morning,” Blake said.

Blake said he and his men have been working seven days a week lately. Whitley County highway officials said county roads are more difficult to clear than city roads because they are more narrow and not as straight. The plow drivers also clean roads in tandem because it is safer and ultimately faster. If one plow gets stuck, there is another right behind it to help. However, the constant long days have taken a toll on drivers.

“Our energy is low, but you have to keep your focus on something other than how tired you are,” Blake said.

Highway officials said they aren’t concentrating on the cost of this winter just yet because they have a job to do. However, they don’t believe summer road repair will be affected.

Whitley County has issued a travel warning until six o’clock Tuesday morning meaning nobody but emergency vehicles should be on the road.

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