Rural Roads Put Stress on Winter Maintenance

Manor Township Supervisor/Road Master Bob Southworth performs maintenance to one of five plow trucks that were in service over 13 hours yesterday for snow removal and road maintenance.

MANOR – Snowfall combined with frigid nighttime temperatures have been causing havoc to area road workers fighting to keep highways open and safe.

“There wasn’t enough snow to plow until 5AM (yesterday) morning and we were in our trucks ever since,” Road Master Bob Southworth told the Kittanning Paper.

Southworth said the extreme cold has been difficult in maintaining equipment in Manor Township.

“We have five trucks, but we are down one. It’s in the shop in Butler. The other four have been non-stop since five o’clock this morning and I just pulled into the municipal building at 6:10 PM (for the monthly supervisors meeting). The other trucks were still out on the road.”

The cost of small winter snow squalls hit the pocket book of small municipalities. Southworth told supervisors last night that he had to order more salt and anti-skid this week. Other municipalities reported similar orders to keep pace with snow removal this year.

Resident Matt Pfeil was appreciative of the work the township road crew was doing this year in keeping the roads clear. He praised them, but criticized the PennDOT-maintained highways.

Residents in other townships had similar remarks, stating that township roads were clear while PennDOT roads were snow-covered. One unidentified woman praised North Buffalo Township road workers for maintaining their stretch of roads.

PennDOT released a statement explaining their position.

“Although PennDOT crews have been treating roadways, the department’s primary goal is to keep roads passable, not completely free of ice and snow,” the news release stated. “PennDOT will continue to treat roadways throughout the storm until precipitation stops and roads are clear.”

PennDOT reduced speeds on major Pennsylvania highways to 45 mph yesterday. It also closed Route 66/28 in Boggs Township and also in Clarion County due to accidents yesterday morning.