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Props to public works: Our view – Under brutal conditions, thanks for a job well done

It’s been a brutal winter. It may not be over yet. We all know that.
Almost every day brings a new reason to relocate to a community far warmer than here, a place where the inhabitants have never experienced a snowfall or freezing rain and can’t fathom what a polar vortex really is.
If you still have an upbeat view of winter in Minnesota, we commend you.
There are plenty of reasons to give up. Hang in there folks. It will get better.
One of the reasons this winter has been at least tolerable, is the fine work our community public works crews have done. The crews have worked long hours keeping city streets, county roads and highways at the very least passable.
Sunday, for example, after rainfall the previous day that threatened to turn roads to skating rinks, county roads and Highway 212 were clear by the afternoon after an overnight snowfall. By early afternoon, city streets here were clear.
It’s easy to complain about the public works crews. The streets aren’t cleared fast enough. There’s ice left behind in the streets after the plows come through. The streets are too narrow because of all the snow. Drivers can’t see oncoming traffic without pulling into an intersection to look around a mound of snow. The rinks aren’t cleared for a day or two. They leave a pile of snow at the end of the driveway.
Let’s all just take a breath here, folks.
In the Twin Cities, a resident asked a TV reporter with a straight face about the possibility of the plow driver lifting the blade where the driveway empties into the street. The person never thought about the amount of time that would be added to the plow driver’s route, the cost of starting and stopping, and the loss of efficiency. You had to see it to believe it.
Cities have a limited amount of money dedicated to staffing public works functions. Streets and roadways must be kept clear for emergency service vehicles. This winter is one for the record books. City, county, township and state budgets for snow relocation are being stretched beyond what was expected. After all, who expected one of the top years for snowfalls?
If you still wish to complain the plow scraped the grass on the boulevard or the blade pushed snow into the mailbox at the end of the driveway, feel free. That’s your right. But before you blast off, think about how difficult their job has become and give the folks at your local public works department a break when you’re done.
They’ve earned it.

-jm