AMHERST – Buffy White has a favourite piece of equipment in the Department of Transportation depot.
“Obviously our plow,” said the area supervisor.
The facility’s third annual open house took place Wednesday evening. The barn was quiet at the beginning of the event, with just a few older men taking a tour.
“We had quite a few (people last year),” said White, including youngsters.
The plow dominated the interior space. It’ s a new acquisition, with a price tag around $250,000; a tandem, with an automatic transmission and a load limit of 26,000 kilograms. It’s a big piece of equipment, with a button- and gadget-filled cab – including a joystick – to control the bucket, the plow and the wing (the side plow, in layman’s terms).
White said there are 16 trucks responsible for taking care of roads on this side of the pass (up to Exit 7; and there are 38 pieces of snow-clearing equipment in total).
The biggest misconception the public holds about DOT’s work is the belief they aren’t out there clearing roads when it snows. If they don’t see us, they don’t think we’re there, she said.
Troy Stanely said the same thing unprompted. The wind can quickly make it look like a truck hasn’t been through.
Stanley’s the maintenance supervisor. He’s worked 33 years for the department. He likes the new automatic plows, but also the automatic grater. He said, given enough time, the grater could clear a road buried in 10-feet of snow.
The best and worst arts of the job are two side of the same coin, according to Stanley.
The best part: “(The) satisfaction of clearing the roads,”
The worst: “When the roads are blocked.”
The operations supervisor for the Parrsboro-Economy site made the trip to Amherst for the event. Greg Frail said the open house gives the public a chance to see the equipment up close, even imagine what it might be like behind the wheel.
Sharing information with the public is always a good idea, he said.