Snow Clean-Up Winding Down in Columbus

City of Columbus plow operator Roy Hogan has been working 12-hour days to clear snow
City of Columbus plow operator Roy Hogan has been working 12-hour days to clear snow

Columbus road crews expect to complete snow removal work on the city’s streets sometime Friday. Equipment operators have been working around the clock to open primary, secondary and neighborhood streets in that order. An adjacent and wealthier community has done the work faster because it has more equipment.

Plow operator Roy Hogan was scraping and salting Oberlin, a neighborhood street west of Riverside Hospital late Thursday morning. He was spreading calcium, too, which he says helps speed up the snow melting process.

“When I came in here a few minutes ago it was pretty much hard snow but now it’s pretty much cleared up and it’s all getting to be pretty much slush now,” Hogan says.

Hogan and his co-workers have been putting in 12-hour days since Tuesday’s storm dumped about 3 inches of snow on Central Ohio. According to Columbus assistant public service director Mary Webster 60% of residential streets and alleys had been treated by Thursday afternoon.

“We will be finishing the other 40% overnight,” Webster says.

Webster says the city is responsible for treating and clearing about 5,800-lane-miles in Columbus, including state route 315. The city has about 75 snow plows, some of which are too big to work in residential areas. Even so, Webster says, there have only been 49 snow-removal complaints or inquiries to the city’s 3-1-1 hotline. Brian Dye, who lives on the city’s west side, says he’s noticed a faster response time by the city in the last few years.

“Usually nothing happens down there,” Dye says. “They’ve even been down there. I heard them in the middle of the night plowing them side streets so I think they’ve been doing a good job.”

But Dublin has done better. According to Streets and Utilities Director Ron Burns, his city’s 500-lane-miles were cleared in 28 hours using 22 pieces of equipment.

Columbus plow operator Roy Hogan will continue to work until his shift ends at 7 p.m. He says most his contact with the public has been positive; one woman offered hot chocolate and coffee out of gratitude, he says. Still, Hogan says, he does hear a few complaints.

Some people say we ain’t doing a good job because we’re plowing and they’ve done cleaned their driveway out and the snow goes back over their driveway so they don’t too much like that. But there’s nothing we can do, we’re just trying to clean the streets up,” he says.

According to the city’s Mary Webster, plow operators are given route maps to follow. The routes are routinely shuffled so that no area receives preferential treatment.