March 2007

Spring is just around the corner, right?

While the snow Oswego County has received from a procession of early February snowstorms has not risen to historic levels, it has caused, nonetheless, an incredible amount of work for upstate superintendents and their crews. It’s even brought out a rarity.

Alan Wart, is superintendent of highways of the Town of Sandy Creek, which at last count, has received approximately 116 in. of snow. Alan has been superintendent for seven years but has worked for the department for 22 years and he’s seen lots of snow before (but it never gets easier.)

“I think the biggest problem has been the prolonged snow,” he said. “When you’re talking about seven or eight straight days of snow, that causes more of a problem than one big storm. This has been certainly the most persistent snow I’ve seen.”

Alan said that he and his crew didn’t do much different from usual snowplow procedure, except break out the old “V” plows.

“It moves snow a lot easier than the faster ones. The last time we used these was back in 1993, 1994.”

Then there’s the overtime, too, for his crew of 10. “The guys had about two straight weeks of 12 hour or longer days. That gets old after awhile.”

Kurt Ospelt is interim superintendent of highways of Oswego County and has been in the department for 29 years.

“This ranks right up there in snowstorms, and we’ve certainly put more hours in than we have in recent years,” he said.

He, too, has broken out the “V” plows, which, according to Kurt, have been idle since 1993. The remarkable feat for he and his crews is that not one road (and he handles 116 mi. of state and 55 mi. of county roads) was impassable or closed as a result of the ordeal.

Kurt attributed this achievement to “Hard work and men.” Including office staff, Kurt has a department of 93 employees. As of press time, things have settled down for Kurt. “Right now we’re in the process of cleaning up villages and blowing snow back.”

Check out pages 58 and 62 for a collage of recent snow pix of Oswego County sent in by some of our readers. On the bright side, remember that the ground hog in Pennsylvania made that rare prediction that spring is just around the corner. Of course I never have understood what the difference is between that prediction and the other one, six more weeks of winter. P

You can also view previous issues of Superintendent's Profile.