Dec. 11 , 2006

Delano Public Works preparing for winter - and snow

By Cullen Schultz
Staff Writer

Winter is upon us, the snowfall is near, and the Delano Public Works Department is ready for the challenge.

Public works employee Tim Schrupp has been working for the department for almost eight years and now, he is helping run the department.

The department has a total of five full-time employees and one part-time employee, who is brought on just for winter.

“We have a great group of guys working here,” Schrupp said.

The Delano Public Works Department does a variety of things for the city year-round.

During the summer months, the department mows grass, tars, concretes work, replaces signs, and do es its own mechanic work just to name a few things.

“We do pretty much everything,” Schrupp said.

The public works department started preparing for winter at the end of August. They began by hauling sand and salt to their facility when the weather was bad and they couldn’t do their other jobs.

In order to be prepared for the winter, they haul 40 loads of sand, brought in from Waverly, and 90 tons of salt, which was purchased from Wright County.

From there, it is brought back to their facility and put into the mixer. When it is finished being mixed, it is stored in the parking lot behind the public works facility.

“We use a three-to-one mixture of sand to salt,” Schrupp said.

By October, the department is fully ready for winter. Summer equipment, such as the mowing tractor, paint sprayer, and back hoe, are moved out of the shed and into cold storage.

“We take out the small equipment we have no use for in the winter,” Schrupp said.

Then, the plows and winter equipment are brought into the shed and are serviced. The plows, which are stored outside throughout the summer, are brought inside and placed on the trucks.

The plows are continually serviced by checking the hydraulics for leaks, and also looking for cracks on the plow.

The department does its own mechanical work, meaning they put the plows on the trucks themselves, and do all the maintenance work.

“We make sure all the trucks are serviced, in case we get one of those Minnesota storms that pop up in the middle of the night,” Schrupp said.

The department has six trucks and a loader to handle snow during the winter. The trucks consist of three pickups, which plow sidewalks, parking lots, alleys, cul-de-sacs, and some gravel roads, two single-axle dump trucks, and a brand new tandem truck.

The single-axles and the tandem are the big trucks that plow the major roads, and are the workhorses for the department. The trucks plow and haul snow in the winter, as well as haul concrete and red rock in the summer.

The process of cleaning the streets of snow can be a hassle. The employees of the department are on call every night, and Schrupp is in charge of calling them in.

He has to watch the weather report every night, and if there is a chance of snow, he gets up at 2 a.m. and checks for it. If there is at least two inches, he calls everyone in and they go out to plow.

“Getting up at 2, when you go to bed at 10, is tough,” Schrupp said.

The reason for going out after 2 a.m. is that all the businesses are closed, and there will be fewer cars on the streets. This is also where the city parking ordinance comes into effect, stating no parking between 2 and 6 a.m.

Besides plowing, the department does a variety of other things for the city during the winter.

For example, the deprtment fills in potholes and cracks in the road, which is very important. If they would wait until summer to fix the cracks, water would get into it and would then cause more damage to the road.

“We fill the cracks with cold tar so water doesn’t get into it, which would cause more expansion and contraction,” Schrupp said.

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