Dan Martin / news@whmi.com

The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) is in the process of reviewing its winter operations with its truck drivers and mechanics are preparing its winter-maintenance equipment including trucks and plows in anticipation of the inevitable arrival of winter weather.

Again this year, RCOC is hiring part-time, temporary laborers/drivers to augment its full-time staff.

“Winter season is a very busy time of year that often requires round-the-clock services to address snow and ice. These part-time workers are a great way to ensure we provide the highest level of service that Oakland County residents deserve,” explained RCOC Chair Andrea LaLonde.

RCOC is also continuing to update its fleet of snowplows/salt trucks. “We continue to replace our aging fleet of trucks,” said RCOC Vice Chair Nancy Quarles. “As a safety feature,” Quarles added, “all new trucks are equipped with green lights that can be seen from a greater distance during winter maintenance. Pick-up trucks used for winter maintenance are also being equipped with the green lights.”

Road Commissioner Eric McPherson noted the agency is prepared for whatever Mother Nature brings during the winter, though a milder winter is always appreciated. “Winter maintenance is one of our most critical functions for the safety of everyone,” he said. “We always prepare for a worse-than-normal winter which includes having plenty of road salt available.”

LaLonde noted the RCOC team is also constantly looking for best practices when it comes to maintaining roads during the winter months, such as the “wing plows” ordered with new trucks in recent years. “The wing plows extend from the right side of the truck and are retracted when not in use,” LaLonde said.

“They increase the width of roadway plowed by a single truck, enabling trucks to plow a roadway lane and the shoulder at the same time, for example. Equipping many of our trucks with wing plows has improved their efficiency,” she noted.

RCOC also has a winter-weather rapid-response plan that includes pickup trucks to get to isolated icing occurrences and other urgent situations more quickly as well as to get into subdivisions and clear crossovers/turnarounds on boulevards more quickly. Additionally, during or following heavy snow events, RCOC uses non-road-maintenance staff to augment its pool of drivers and hires contractors to help in subdivisions and on back gravel roads in some instances.

Despite the addition of the part-time, temporary employees and the rapid-response plan, LaLonde explained that motorists must still be vigilant when driving during or immediately after snow events. “Drive for the conditions. That will make a safer environment for everyone on the road,” she explained. She also reminded motorists not to crowd the plow and give the plows “room to groom.”

A fact sheet about RCOC Winter Maintenance operations is included in the attached release.