Butler County Road Crew on the Ready
With Butler County getting doused by rain Wednesday night and then getting socked by snow Thursday road travel was a major concern but the County Road Department was on top of things.
Timmy West explains that “The State roads are maintained by the State, the City takes care of the town and we are the caretakers of the County roads” “We are responsible for more than four hundred miles of roads.” The County road system is mapped out into five districts with a grid system for utility purposes.
Anthony Perrin states that “It will take about six to seven hours to get through all the roads once, and depending on how the weather goes, this could be a long day.” The road conditions for the most part weren’t what anybody would call “bad,” but there definitely were some trouble spots and by nine o’clock Thursday morning six trucks equipped with plows and carrying ten tons of salt apiece were already in action.
I was in one of those trucks riding with amiable twenty year veteran Warren Brooks and it didn’t take long to figure out that driving one of these plow trucks takes a keen eye and a steady hand. Riding shotgun in the International diesel powered truck gave me a bouncing crow eye view of the back roads and me thankful for the soft suspension in my own vehicle. I didn’t talk much because I figured Warren already had enough on his mind and I didn’t want to be the cause of an unfortunate incident. Lots of turns and hills in Butler County. Every once in a while Warren would say he was “Dropping the blade to break up the ice” or “Putting down some salt on the slick spot.”
During a short stop Warren told me that ”The biggest problems happen at night, somebody will go into a ditch and leave with part of their vehicle hanging out in the road. If you’re coming around a curve or cresting a hill with that blade sticking out it’ll make you grow up real fast.” A few miles down the road the CB crackled and the message was “Seven fifty- five to seven fifty- four, you still at your twenty?”. 754 is Warren’s truck call number and I think he responded with “that would be a 10-4", but with all the road noise, the hissing hydraulics and the clinking tire chains he might have said “Been there before.”
The best way I could describe being in a plow truck, driving through blowing snow would be like being on a slow controlled roller coaster ride. I left Warren after riding with him for almost two hours and knew he had at least another forty miles to go. I also left knowing the County roads were in good shape.
Story and photos by Jim Baird, Beechtree News