PENOBSCOT COUNTY – A lot of people got to stay home from work and school on Thursday because of the weather, but others were hard at work.
Driving in snowy weather is a source of anxiety for some people, but for snowplow drivers, it’s just another day.
“This year hasn’t been too bad. These little storms haven’t been too bad,” said Kevin Ouellette, a snowplow driver for the Maine Department of Transportation.
Ouellette has been a plow driver with the Maine DOT for four years.
It’s a job he said he enjoys.
“We have a really good team. Second to none, start from the top right to the bottom,” Ouellette said. “I can’t say enough about the mechanics in the garage that work on our trucks. It’s a great place to work.”
Two of the biggest challenges Ouellette said drivers face are white out conditions and traffic.
“We usually run two trucks together, but we let traffic through every chance we get” Ouellette explained. “We try to help traffic out when we can, sometimes we can’t. Just patience. Give yourself plenty of time to get there.”
The Bangor region DOT has about two dozen plow drivers covering about 200 miles of road.
Bangor crews go through nearly 4,000 tons of salt annually.
“There’s more to do than plow the road” said Alden McLaughlin, an operations manager for the Maine DOT. “We have trees to deal with, water problems. That’s usually when we’ll utilize the whole crew to cover everything.”