LaPorte Co. to hire extra payloaders to clear roads

2014-01-27T17:24:00Z 2014-01-28T05:43:04Z LaPorte Co. to hire extra payloaders to clear roadsStan Maddux Times Correspondent
January 27, 2014 5:24 pm  • 

LAPORTE | LaPorte County officials will be looking for emergency funds to bring in extra payloaders to remove snow piled high along many  roads and pay other costs incurred by a harsh winter.

Bob Young, LaPorte County Highway Department superintendent, said plows can no longer push the heavy mountains of snow away from the edge of roads.

Payloaders will be able to pick up the snow and deposit it farther away from the roads to create room for more snowplows to scrape off pavement this winter.

His crew again was keeping busy Monday opening roads especially those running north and south drifted shut by snow blowing from gusty westerly winds.

"It's real bad," said Young.

LaPorte County Commissioner Dave Decker said there's only "three or four" payloaders in the county's fleet and as many as "five or six" additional payloaders will be brought in under contract to push the piles farther off the edge of the roads quicker.

He said the mountains of snow do not run along the entire length of the roads, but the piles extend about "one mile for every six mile stretch."

LaPorte County government offices were closed Monday due to the extreme blowing and drifting and arctic cold that was again moving in.

Commissioners on Monday decided to close county offices on Tuesday as well.

"The roads running east and west were somewhat passable," said Young, who added even a few of his snowplows got stuck in drifted areas.

Police also were keeping extremely busy reaching motorists stranded in drifts or ditches primarily in open rural areas.

Decker said the winter is also going to be more costly from having to purchase extra salt to replenish dwindling supplies and in overtime being racked up by highway department personnel.

"This is something we can't help," said Decker.

The commissioners Monday decided against issuing a state of emergency, preferring to leave a travel watch issued Friday in effect.

Decker said the recent travel problems have been caused more by blowing and drifting not the snow that fell during the first major arctic blast that resulted in the emergency declaration earlier this month.

Unlike a state of emergency, drivers under a travel watch are not subject to being ticketed for being on the roads.

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