Plowing Siouxland's highways an around-the-clock job
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- Long hours on the road, scary driving conditions and careless drivers can make plowing a tough profession. But it's a necessary task to keep Siouxland moving.
"Just kind of babysitting the roads right now until it really starts coming down," says Iowa DOT maintenance supervisor Tim Timmins.
Driving a plow for the state of Iowa can be a rough gig.
Timmins says, "Probably run a twelve hour shift or possibly a sixteen hour shift."
Fueled mostly by coffee, Tim Timmins has been at the wheel for seventeen years. He's responsible for Highway 75 between Sioux City and Merrill, but that's a relatively small piece of Highway.
In the Iowa DOT's third district, which covers northwest Iowa, drivers have to clear nearly 17,000 miles of roads, including more than 2,000 ramps and intersections and 600 bridges. A crew of close to 200 handles the wintry mess.
"I got a good crew. They know where they have to go and what they have to do, so it makes it a lot easier," said Iowa DOT maintenance supervisor Steve Botos.
It takes a good operator to work a machine with three different plows -- one of the front, one on the side and one on the bottom. Oftentimes, they're all used at once to tame what a Midwest winter storm leaves behind. However, Botos says the best defense for you to stay safe on the roads is smart driving.
"Slow down, act like the roads are slick even if they look like they're dry," Botos said.
Cautious drivers can be a big help, especially when the weather isn't.
"Just trying to keep up there right now, try to keep that left lane peeled down and hope for the best right now," Timmins said.