Road crews, residents dig out of snow in Saginaw County - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Road crews, residents dig out of snow in Saginaw County

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(01/06/14) - In Saginaw County, the wind is forcing road crews to go over primary roads - over and over again.

A lot of primary or main roads are in decent shape. They aren't down to bare pavement, but they've been plowed. Several times in fact.

All this wind is making it tough to drive in and is making more work for road crews.

Visibility is low, speeds are even lower. Now imagine being inside the cab of a snow plow truck during SnowStorm 2014.

"On a day like this, it's very dangerous, but we're managing to get through it," said Dennis Borchard, of the Saginaw County Road Commission.

Monday, around 40 Saginaw County Road Commission trucks were working to clear 1,800 miles of roads.

Behind the wheel of one of those trucks is Lonnie Wood.

"We have to worry about so many things out here. You know, you got the front plow on, you got the bottom plow on. You got, you know, dealing with curb and gutter stuff like that and people, you know they come out, they pass you and then get up the road and be stuck," he said.

Wood says to make his job easier, don't pass - and give them room.

"At least stay back 50 feet, you know, behind us. Then you're getting a clean road," he said.

Plow drivers are going to drive slow - probably 35 miles per hour or less.

The biggest challenge on this day is the wind. It's forcing Wood and all the others to go over roads they've already plowed, multiple times.

"It is a battle, but we haven't lost one yet," Borchard said.

It's a battle they expect to fight for several days.

"You know that's the main thing right there. You got to get out of this truck every now and then and get you some air. Stop and grab you a cup of coffee or something like that. That's what we usually do," Wood said.

Another challenge is abandoned cars. Already the Saginaw County Sheriff's Office has had to tow a few cars at the owner's expense because they got stuck and just left the car on the road.

Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel says your best bet is to stay home.

"Our own deputies are having trouble on the secondary roads in the out county getting around in the Chargers, we've had to park those. Thankfully we do have one four wheel drive Expedition. And we've got a sergeant and a deputy doubled up. We also have a military Humvee. We're utilizing that as well. That can get through anything. So we're having trouble getting around. We anticipate everyone else will have trouble getting around so if you don't have to come out today, I'd recommend don't come out," he said.

If you don't have to be out, just stay home. It will make work easier for police, fire and ambulance workers - and our plow truck drivers.

As tough as it is for road crews to keep up with the blowing wind, it's just as difficult for homeowners. But with a helping hand, it's getting done.

As we were driving around in the wind and snow, we spotted something heartwarming. A man was using every tool he had to dig out a neighbor who was stuck.

"I'm a native Saginawian, I've been here third generation, all my life. And I don't remember a storm like this for a while," said Dave Oppermann, of Saginaw. "20 below, 30 below, 40 below. Of course when you get that much, it doesn't make a lot of difference."

"And now with the wind, the drifting's making it a little tough to keep up with," said Paul Kinde.

Armed with a snowblower and shovel, Kinde isn't trying to clear his own driveway.

"I know some of the neighbors here in the neighborhood, and try to keep it up for them, help out if I can. My work closed today," he said.

Paul is trying to dig out his neighbor's car.

"I got about two feet and that was it. There was no forward, there was no backwards, and the wind was blowing and it was just too cold," Oppermann said.

Oppermann may be stuck, but he's not out of luck.

"We live in a great neighborhood here and so you're right, it's a lot of that happens this time of the year I think," he said.

Despite the howling wind, Paul didn't give up.

"We gotta help each other out, you know," he said.

"I've got to at least move the car a little bit to make sure it can move and then I think I'm going to hibernate some more," Oppermann said.

With the help of a truck, they finally got Dave's car unstuck.

If you want to see if the snow plows are in your area, you can do that in Saginaw County by clicking HERE.

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