Bismarck Public Works prepares for snowy forecast

By  | 

BISMARCK, N.D. - Bismarck Public Works has had to quickly switch gears from mowing grass to hooking up plows.

"Today we're out finishing up mowing and paving, and stuff, and tomorrow it sounds like were going to get snow storm," said Keith Glass, superintendent of the roads and streets department.

With nearly a foot of snow in the forecast, the public works department is gearing up for the winter storm that is headed towards Bismarck.

"Employees are starting to put on snow gates, getting our sanders all hooked up, getting our brine made, getting ready for what's coming," said Glass.

However, preparing equipment for the storm isn't the hard part, finding employees is.

"The materials we usually bring in this time of year, the change is getting the schedule set up," says Glass.

With recent budget cuts, Public Works is having to depend on other departments for drivers to fill in as plow drivers.

"From midnight to noon, noon to midnight, 12 hour shifts. We take employees in from different departments, so landfill employees in, I’ll have water, and forestry employees in to cover the shift," said Glass.

Which could affect the way Bismarck streets are cleared.

Your News Leader asked Keith if the shortage of workers would impact snow removal.

“Yeah, definitely. That's why we have to utilize employees in other departments," said Glass.

Other concerns are the early snow fall.

"We're really concerned about the amount of leaves on the trees this year yet that haven’t fallen off. If we get some wet, heavy snow we could have a lot of limbs and trees coming down," said Glass.

The operators behind the wheel say they're ready for the next couple of days.

"It’s fun plowing, I enjoy the snow," said Rob Carlson, a Public Works employee.

The department will send out 14 pieces of equipment at a time to clear and treat roads.

Glass urges drivers not to pass plows, and try to park off the street.

Workers will likely hit the road Wednesday night around midnight.