More than 7 inches of snow costs city for its removal

A city of Fulton employee looks over her shoulder as snow his dumped into the back of a truck. The trucks brought the snow to a baseball field off of Second Street.

A city of Fulton employee looks over her shoulder as snow his dumped into the back of a truck. The trucks brought the snow to a baseball field off of Second Street. Photo by Brittany Ruess.

Fulton Sun staff measured about 7.5 inches of snow on the ground in Fulton after heavy snows kept city crews clearing streets overnight for the fourth time this winter.

Including daytime-only endeavors, this marked the city’s sixth total effort to clear 75 lane miles of snow. City policy states crews will only deploy plow trucks if 2 inches or more builds up.

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Fulton city employees work Wednesday to clear snow on Court Street. Plows shoveled the snow and dumped it into trucks. The trucks then transported the snow to a baseball field off of Second Street.

City Engineer Greg Hayes estimated that the first 2 inches that fall costs the city $23,000 to plow, accounting for labor, equipment and materials.

“After that 2 inches it drops back to about $10,000 per inch,” Hayes said. “The reason it drops back a bit is (crews) are already running and called in.”

At Hayes’ personal estimate of about 6.5 inches on the roads, this means last night’s snowstorm cost the city $68,000.

Hayes said the city budget is $25,000 for snow material, such as sand, salt and cinders. Other expenditures per snow event fall under vehicle maintenance, fuel costs, worker pay and overtime.

Day shift crews ran plows 4-8 p.m. — the amount of time Hayes said it typically takes the street department to cover snow routes.

Regular evening shift drivers left at 8 p.m., and by the time they were done Hayes said nature had different plans.

“We were doing really good last night until 2 a.m., when we were hit with one more clipper that dumped 2 inches of snow on everything,” Hayes aid. “At that time we pulled all forces and did our primary routes. Those looked really good compared to the side streets (which) did not look really good at all, because we did not have enough trucks on those before people got going this morning.”

Snow removal continues. Because exceeding 6 inches put Fulton into its “substantial snow event” policy, snow was packed into trucks and hauled off from the downtown area Wednesday morning. Trucks are continuing to push back snow, and Hayes said people with blocked driveways should expect pushing to have ceased by the end of the day Wednesday.

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