Late night snow clean-up

By Anthony Antoine |

Published 01/11 2014 03:15PM

Updated 01/13 2014 11:29AM

CHAMPAIGN -- Day one of the snow removal process in the downtown area is underway. At 2 am, most of us are asleep, but the same can't be said for the Champaign Public Works Department.

"We had about 14 trucks, we had skidsters and front-end loaders. Our objective was essentially to clear a lot of the sidewalks and spaces between the meters where a lot of the vehicles park to essentially ensure the safety of citizens and pedestrians that want to come to the downtown area," says Ernesto Salinas, Operations Manager for Public Works.

It's been a rough week for Central Illinois with several inches of snow and strong winds. It's one of the worst storms to hit in two decades.

Arnie Morrison says, "It's very rare that we have to come downtown. Maybe six times in the last 22 years I've worked here."

Crews started planning at 11 pm. By 2 am, they were ready to go.

Salinas says, "We removed the snow, put it in strategic piles throughout the downtown area and then it was loaded on the trucks and relocated to one of our old public works facilities."

But it's more than just clearing the streets.

"It's important to note that the storm drains need to be clear as well and you don't want them to be covered as a result with the snow pack."

Temperatures are on the rise and the snow will melt, but covered storm drains can lead to flooding. So the city wasn't taking any chances. Crews finished up at 6 am. For Arnie Morrison at least, a perfect time for breakfast.

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