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The Homer Horizon 021518

4 | February 15, 2018 |

4 | February 15, 2018 | The Homer Horizon NEwS homerhorizon.com Nationally recognized. busey.com/welcome 708.301.5900 Busey proudly welcomes First Community WILL COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT 92 Hosted By Special Education Services Please join us for an informational meeting presented by Dr. Patrick McGrath AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Topics: STUDENT ANXIETY & SCHOOL PHOBIA Thursday, February 15, 2018 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Oak Prairie Jr. High Cafeteria 15161 S. Gougar Road, Homer Glen Member FDIC Homer Township Board Highway commissioner speaks about recent snowy conditions Jason Maholy Freelance Reporter The Homer Township Road District had until last week’s winter storms done relatively little in the way of plowing thus far this season, but the man in charge of coordinating the snow-clearing effort was gearing up for what he correctly predicted “could be a messy week on area roads.” Road Commissioner Mike DeVivo provided during a 24-minute Homer Township Board meeting on Feb. 5 some insight into the nuances associated with the plowing, salting and keeping drivers rested during a prolonged effort to keep roads clear and safe. With a network of storms headed toward the Midwest that ultimately would drop large amounts of snow, DeVivo anticipated what was ahead for motorists and his crew, and he reflected on what had been a light portion of the district’s workload this winter to that point. Homer Township and the surrounding area had prior to Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 4, seen only two days this winter with measurable snowfall. The nearly two inches that fell on the southwest suburbs and other areas before, during and after barn-burner between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, combined with the three to four inches that fell on the area the following day and night, Feb. 5, exceeded the total snowfall of the entire winter to that point. “We’ve been blessed most of this season and a lot of last season, but it snowed over the weekend and it’s snowing tonight,” DeVivo told the board as he relayed the latest forecast while snow fell outside Town Hall. “We do what we can to do to keep the roads as safe as we can, but I’ve got to tell you there are going to be some difficult times for the travelers in our community for the next week. “It’s not going to be fun.” A snow-clearing schedule that would be a staple for much of the following week had been implemented earlier that day. Plow drivers had hit the roads at 7 a.m. and were to be pulled from duty no later than 11 p.m., and would then strike out at 4 a.m. the following morning to clear roads for the morning rush, DeVivo said. Plows hit the roads for a more prolonged stretch of days beginning the evening of Thursday, Feb. 8 and ending the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 11. The Road District’s website on Thursday, Feb. 8 posted a message that echoed DeVivo’s words regarding the snow removal plan. “Snow is forecast to begin this evening and not end until Sunday midday with only a few short breaks in between events,” the message said. “As of this writing, total accumulation by Sunday [Feb. 11] will be between 10 and 14 inches of snow, depending on just how these storms will track across our community. “Plows will be out on their routes from early morning to late evening every day. We will shut down plow operations during the overnight hours when traffic will be at a minimum. Residents can expect difficult driving conditions with snow-covered roads throughout the entire 72- hour period. “Updated snow plans will be posted on this site as the storm progresses.” DeVivo acknowledged that schedule would contribute to snowy roads overnight — and added “that may happen a lot this week” — but the safety and efficiency of plow drivers is paramount,” he said. “The overall snow removal effort is more effective without splitting shifts and having drivers on the roads at all times. “If we were to stay this storm and try to work it through, we’d be in the 20- to 24-hour range, and once you get beyond 16, you’re neither efficient, nor are you safe,” DeVivo said. The Highway Department uses a fleet of 15 trucks all working the same shift to maintain the Township’s 150 miles of roads. With that manpower, the Township can clear the entire network of roads in about four hours once the snow stops falling, he added. Splitting his crew into shifts would enable the Township to keep plows on the roads all night, but DeVivo said he has learned there is no benefit to that approach. “Then it takes twice as long to do everything; it’s just not efficient,” he said. Having the entire crew work an extended shift has its disadvantages, as well. Work the drivers too late, and they won’t be able to come in as early as would be ideal, and roads can’t be plowed until after the morning rush has begun. “If we knew this storm Please see TOWNSHIP, 6

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