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Snow crews clear Louisville roads despite COVID outages, multiple weather events

Louisville Metro’s snow team is ready to hit the streets for the third time in four days.
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:31 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:35 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Metro’s Snow Team is ready to hit the streets for the third time in four days.

Crew leader Ross Brown and his team at Public Works’ central district spent the afternoon loading the salt dome and several plow trucks in preparation to treat the roads post-snowfall.

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On Wednesday, Metro Public Works employees loaded salt into the dome at Central District in...
On Wednesday, Metro Public Works employees loaded salt into the dome at Central District in preparation for the city's third snow event in four days.(Courtesy: WAVE 3 News)

“It was going to be a lot of work coming,” Brown said. “(I thought), ‘Don’t plan nothing. Just watch the weather and wait for the call to come in.’”

Brown told WAVE News Wednesday’s weather event came with different challenges from the previous two. To begin, his team was unable to pre-treat the roads with salt due to the warm, dry afternoon. Furthermore, the precipitation was expected to begin as rain, preventing crews from using the salt-water brine.

“You’d rather get out there and get the job done,” Brown said. “Most of the time when you have a job, you control when you go out do it. Now you can’t. You have to weather on the weather. You can’t treat until it starts snowing and it’s going to come in as rain, so that adds another factor.”

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The goal of clearing the roads has recently become more than just a science project — it has also become a logistical experiment. Metro Public Works spokesperson Sal Melendez told WAVE that at one point, nearly 14% of the department’s 450 employees were out sick.

Still, the men and women on the job have been able to effectively get the snow off the streets.

“All we can do is get prepared the best of our ability,” Brown said.

Melendez told WAVE News Metro Public Works will have 30 crews on the roads per shift, clearing a total of approximately 2,700 two-lane miles throughout Jefferson County.

“The Metro Snow Team is made of different components that we had enough personnel to pull together and be able to mitigate these past few snow events, and we’re ready for this next one,” Melendez said.

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