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Brasher highway crew keeps up with weather

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BRASHER FALLS - The members of the Brasher Highway Department enjoyed their Christmas off, but they put in their hours two days later when a snowstorm swept through the region.

Town Supervisor M. James Dawson said the workers plowed and salted many of the same roads over and over on Thursday to keep them free from the snow that, once cleared, came right back - either snow that continued to fall or snow that blew back in after it had already been cleared away.

“Once they plowed, they would go right back over it again,” he said.

Mr. Dawson said he had met with Highway Superintendent Larry Hewlett Friday morning after the storm had left the area and road crews were busy cleaning up the remnants of the snow.

“We were chatting a bit. At 4:30 yesterday he said you couldn’t see 10 feet ahead of you. He said it was so hard to see the road,” he said.

Among the town’s responsibilities is plowing eight-and-a-half miles of state Highway 37C, a task that was made even more formidable by the snow that continued to fall and blow, Mr. Dawson said.

“They kept going back and forth. They used pure salt. It wasn’t only snow, but the fact that we had wind drifts,” he said.

Altogether, the highway department is responsible for not only the eight-and-a-half miles of state roads, but also nearly 33 miles of county highways and about 60 miles of town roads.

“We were all set to go. We had the rigs ready,” Mr. Dawson said. “The snow wasn’t particularly wet and heavy, but it was heavy enough. We had five rigs out. We have an old truck, a single axle from ‘98 that we use when we have to. Everything was out all day yesterday.”

Thursday’s storm gave the highway department members an opportunity to clear snow unlike they’ve had to do in recent memory.

“We had a very mild, if you will, November. They might have gone out once to sand because it was slippery. Last winter at the end of the year they went out once, maybe twice. March is usually the time when we get some pretty big snowstorms,” Mr. Dawson said.

Despite the road conditions, no state of emergency was declared in St. Lawrence County, and Mr. Dawson said the highway department workers earned their pay by keeping the roads clear throughout the day.

“They were fortunate they had Christmas Day off,” he said.

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