Editor, The Spotlight:
One of the most important responsibilities of the highway superintendent is to provide safe streets to travel on. In the winter he directs the application of a variety of treatments to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the road surface. He decides on a plan of action based on road and weather conditions. There are finite resources available to work with in completing these tasks.
Knowing when to use each treatment as well as the frequency and duration of these activities are important. There are many factors to consider during each winter storm such as temperature, wind speed, duration of event, time of day, moisture content and forecasted snowfall. These factors and others must be weighed by the highway superintendent who then decides how to proceed. Each storm is different and no certificate or professional license can substitute for years of on the job training when it comes to making these decisions.
I have experienced 21 winters working in the Highway Department. As a foreman I sat with Gregg Sagendorph and worked through the progression of many different winter storm events. One winter season I gathered data and documented our procedures for inclusion in a winter maintenance program developed by Dewey Amsler of Slingerlands. Dewey, a nationally known expert in winter road maintenance, has been presenting his Snow and Ice Control Workshop for the Cornell Local Roads Program for years.
When the snow stops falling the work of the Highway Department is far from over. The same men and women who clear the streets during the storm are called upon to finish the job by removing the snow from public areas to allow for business as usual. They also spend many hours repairing and maintaining the equipment in preparation for the next event. The dedicated employees of the highway department will at times work many consecutive days with little rest. The highway superintendent needs to know how to balance the physical demands of this work on his staff with the safety of the traveling public.
When evaluating the candidates for highway superintendent, know that I am the only candidate who has been in the department for the past 21 years preparing for this responsibility. I am the candidate with the right experience, ready to lead the Highway Department today.
Candidate for Bethlehem highway superintendent