Plow operators had plenty of work as the snow kept piling up Thursday when the big winter storm that hammered the South and Midwest arrived in New England.
Not only were plow drivers pushing snow off roads and out of parking lots, some of them were also helping to push motorists out of snowbanks and up steep, icy inclines.
Bret Casselman climbed back into his cab after helping a driver who couldn’t gain enough traction.
"That’s the first one today, so far, but there’s not too many people on the road, but they’re going off the road when they are," he said.
With schools and many businesses on an extended holiday break, traffic was fairly light across the state.
So it was people like Casselman who were on the roads. He’d been behind the wheel since 4 in the morning and the storm was still raging six hours later, with plenty more lots to clear.
"I plow 130 condos and about 15 businesses or so," Casselman said.
He’d be happy without the snow, though, because he gets paid regardless of the weather.
State plow drivers would probably also be happy without the storm. But they were working shifts much like the private operators.
Dan Shepard is the acting district manager at the Transportation Agency’s Colchester garage.
"The conditions, it’s snowing. So they’re working," Shepard said. "They’ve been nonstop since 4 a.m. this morning. We had a crew on last night from 8 o’clock until 4 this morning. So they’re busy."
Those drivers were destined for 16 hours behind the wheel before their relief took over.
Before the height of the storm, they were spreading 400 pounds of salt per mile. They backed off of those amounts when the heaviest snow fell because it’s ineffective if there’s too much snow cover.
The roads are likely to be clear by the weekend – just in time for skiers to make it to ideal conditions at resorts from the Adirondacks through Maine for the holiday.