Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto was pleased overall with how area agencies handled last week's snow and ice storm.
He explained that Middle Tennesseans are not used to such a bad storm, but that Road Commissioner Steve Lynch and Road Foremen Steve Murphy and Danny Manning were dedicated to keeping major road arteries as drive-able as possible.
"Our Road Commission mainly paves and maintains the roads. The people of Chicago and Detroit deal with this type of weather regularly, but we are not used to this kind of event," he said. "They went to work clearing up the roads on Monday and Tuesday, and then a second storm hit on Tuesday night." Lynch said that the worst part about the storm was trying to get ice off the road. "We get a little sleet from time to time, but not like this," he said.
"If it was just snow they could start with scraper blades, but because of the ice they had to first go through and salt the roads, let it loosen up and go back in a few hours to push the ice out of the way," Hutto added. Hutto said the county has five trucks and one smaller truck and 12 drivers equipped to handle salting and blading.
"This county has 1,684 miles of road and that is a long route to try to cover. These trucks are good if they do 20 miles in an hour, so it takes a while to cover that ground," he continued, realizing that not every road could be tended. "Their rule is to cover every major artery that leads to a state road first, because those are the ones most traveled when people are trying to make it to work. Once those are done they work on the secondary roads."
Lynch said that his men worked over 70 hours last week, on average, and mechanics worked 90.
"I do commend them," Hutto said. "Everybody wants their road clean and they want it in an instant, but you can't get to everybody at one time."
Hutto also noted the dedication of Wilson Emergency Management, the Wilson County Sheriff's Office and other emergency services. "We are thankful we have them," he said.
In the future, Hutto said he will work with agencies to be even more prepared and serve more citizens - whether it be with the maintaining the roads, organizing community assistance or simply urging folks to stock up ahead of time.
"I think when an event like this comes up, and it doesn't happen very often, it is tough to get acclimated. We've heard many times (that snow) is coming and then it never does. We get to the point where we don't go to the store or we don't prepare," he said. "I think this event taught us to be prepared at home."
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at email@example.com.