Snowplow crews prepare for next run

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DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — If there’s now in the forecast, Bruce Bird is ready.

“It’s almost like an art form every time you get out there because there are so many variables,” Bird said. “Not every storm is the same.”

Bird serves as the Macon County Engineer and helps coordinate snow removal efforts.

“When it looks like the snow is coming in or it’s on our doorstep, we will physically go out and look and drive the roads,” he said.

His crew and others across central Illinois create a game plan days in advance when snow is in the forecast.

“[My crews] know that they got this corner of the county or this corridor of the county,” Bird said. “We’ll usually send two trucks to each corridor to take care of [snow and ice].”

The crews start with the main thoroughfares and work outward, making sure each plow and every grain of salt counts.

Bird says the Macon County Highway Department has used around 1000 tons of salt this winter. While that’s more than past years, he says it’s about on par with a usual Illinois winter.

But no matter the amount set down, timing is key.

“Snow will just blow right across the road,” Bird said. “That’s much better than to just put the salt down and end up with a sheet of ice. Then you have to go out and put down even more salt to fix the problem you just created.”

And even when the snow melts, Bird’s work is far from over.

“[Once the snow melts], it immediately transitions to start going out to fill potholes,” he said.

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