The old saying, “It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it,” may ring true for the work municipal snow plow operator Jamie Saunders does.
“Some people might be intimidated because it’s big and all this stuff but it’s just another vehicle, it turns the way it makes you turn,” said Saunders.
Saunders has been clearing out Halifax streets and highways for nearly two decades.
When it comes to bad storms, he’s seen it all.
From Hurricane Juan in September 2003 – which wiped out much of Point Pleasant Park and caused massive damage throughout the city – to the hurricane-strength nor’easter White Juan that paralyzed the region in February 2004.
“That (White Juan) was a demon, for one storm that was probably the worst. Everything was a blanket of snow and you didn’t even know where you were at, you didn’t know where the road was at, you had to guess where the middle of the road was,” Saunders said.
As for Monday’s nor’easter that shut down the entire city, including transit, from Saunders point of view in his twin-blade plow, he said it wasn’t that bad.
“We stayed on the road, just kept going forward. It was probably about the third or fourth worst storm I was in,” he said.
Municipal plow drivers work rotating 12 hour shifts and when the weather is bad, they keep going until conditions improve.
Despite the size and power of the dual-blade plows, on occasion they too can get stuck.
“We get our buddies to come help us and you might have to shovel, might have to have a little tow,” Saunders said.
Once freed, it’s back on the road for all plow drivers.
It’s a constant battle against Mother Nature’s conditions, but the plow drivers give people the opportunity to navigate around a winter wonderland.
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