County ‘more prepared’ for snowfall
Richmond County Schools closed Wednesday
By Lisa Rushing
Richmond County could receive between 2 to 5 inches of snow between this afternoon and late tonight according to the National Weather Service. While the North Carolina Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining major highways, local governments shoulder the burden of clearing city streets.
Marchell David, Hamlet city manager, said that city maintained roads had been canvassed on Monday and that the Hamlet Department of Public Works had “applied an application to the highest traveled secondary roads” which include Spring Street, Hylan Avenue and McDonald Avenue.
However, Billy Stubbs, Hamlet Department of Public Works Director of sanitation, leaf and limb, said that ice melt had only been applied to Hamlet bridges and four-way stops. Rock salt was also put out around city buildings and on sidewalks on Monday.
“We don’t have the equipment to put down brine” on the roads, Stubbs said.
The four assigned Hamlet city crews will utilize the three trucks, one dump truck and a motor grader to start plowing as soon as 2 inches accumulate. It takes between six to eight hours to plow the 44 linear miles of Hamlet.
“If snow comes and depending on magnitude (we) will readjust crews,” David said.
It could double to between eight and 10 crews depending on if the weather is severe enough to warrant it. The crews worked a regular shift Tuesday, but if conditions worsened they would be on call or stand by tonight. Wednesday’s schedule has not yet been determined.
Hamlet has a budget set aside for inclement weather of up to $10,000. If additional funds are necessary, there is a reserve budget.
The city of Rockingham got to work applying brine to the city roads Monday afternoon and into the night. The fire and police departments are “winter weather ready” said Monty Crump, Rockingham city manager. Snow tires and chains are on hand should they be necessary.
There are 54 miles of city streets to clear, but it shouldn’t be a problem with the two dump trucks and one motor grader the city has on hand for their two crews. Additional crews may be added depending on conditions. The city will focus on clearing critical roads first, such as those near FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital, Rockingham Fire Department and roads with steep hills.
As for the county, the focus is on not having a repeat of the snow storm that hit in 2000.
“We’re a lot more prepared than we were in 2000,” said Rick Sago, county manager, comparing the state of readiness to the snowstorm Jan. 24 and Jan. 25, 2000, that dumped between 15 and 21 inches of snow in the region.
Fourteen years ago, the county did not have generators at all of the pump stations nor a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The county has fueled and tested the generators and has one truck, three back hoes and one loader to assist in snow removal.
“First priority is keeping the water system working,” Sago said.
The county began preparing on Sunday and has contractors lined up as well as 14 county employees to handle county parking lots.
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