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DPW: Our Snow Warriors


Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

A couple of winters ago, I wrote a blog entitled Our Snow Angels.  Back then, I reported how the hard-working people at the Auburn Hills Department of Public Works clear the ice and snow from our streets with little fanfare or attention.  Since Tuesday and Wednesday’s storm, I thought I would revisit the topic and spoke to Dan Brisson, the DPW’s Manager of Roads and Fleet, about how his crews cleared the City.


Dan stated that 35 to 40 personnel began working around 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday.  At 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning the snow stopped and that was when (as Dan said) DPW went into “full scale attack.”  At their disposal were ten dump trucks, four pickups, two pickups dedicated to municipal parking lots, and a broom truck for sidewalks.  They worked all through the night and until 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

One fact that Dan brought up was news to me, that DPW uses an anti-icing agent (much like the de-icers used on planes at the airports) prior to plowing.  This helps reduce the buildup of ice that is then trapped under the snow, making for treacherous driving.  It also acts as a sort of “Teflon” to make the plowing easier.  As Dan put it, DPW “MacGyver’ed” two trucks with parts and equipment found around the DPW garage and now have two de-icing trucks capable of handling 32-lane miles of streets.

We all hope that this past storm was winter’s last hurrah, but rest assured that if Ol’ Man Winter rears his ugly head again the personnel of DPW will be prepared.  They’ll be ready to take it on again with their standard equipment and a few secret weapons.

I’m thinking that “Snow Angels” is a little wimpy.  Let’s call them our “Snow Warriors.”

Thanks to you all.