Plymouth County Road Crews busy clearing over 1,300 miles of roads

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:12 PM CST
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HINTON, IA (KTIV) - Outside of cities and towns, there are miles of secondary roads that need to be plowed.

Plymouth County, Iowa, has over 1,000 miles of road to clear. In fact, it’s the 3rd largest county in Iowa in terms of road mileage.

Crews there hit the roads at 6 AM to clear the way for drivers. That’s after several days of preparation, mixing salt and sand.

They worked until 5 pm.

They hope to have the majority of roads cleared by Friday, but the wind will play a big factor.

”We’ll get a spot cleared off and then the wind will pick up or switch directions, and it will blow it back across the road again in a different spot or different direction,” said Paul Rubis, District Foreman and Snowplow Boss for Plymouth County.

Thirty-two staff members work on the roads in Plymouth County. They include plow drivers who focus on paved roads, maintainers who work on the gravel roads, two mechanics and a superintendent.

Plow drivers will go out on set 26-mile routes throughout the day, or 32-mile routes if they’re further out east by Kingsley. Maintainers, on the other hand, average 70-80 miles per route.

While plowing, visibility can be limited by snow blowing across the windshield and covering mirrors. That’s why it’s especially important for drivers to make sure they’re visible to road crews.

”Slow down, turn your headlights on,” said Rubis. “It’s really important to have the headlights on so we can see you. Just watch out for the plows, stay back at least 50 feet. We’re trying to put sand out, and if you get too close, we can’t see you.”

The crews will spend the majority of the day today clearing off roads. They’ll lay down around 200 tons of salt and sand mixture on each round.

However, many have been unable to spread the mixture due to the wind. When the wind is strong, the mixture can combine with snow and make conditions worse.

As the third-largest county in Iowa by mileage, crews have quite a bit of ground to cover when it snows.

The county has 365 miles of paved roads, and 1,000 miles of gravel roads that need to be accounted for.

They have trucks spread out at sheds across the county, including eight in Le Mars, two in Hinton and in Akron, and one each in Kingsley and Remsen. There are also two maintainers at each shed. Those are the workers that take care of the gravel.