Plow Drivers Showing Signs of Fatigue - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Plow Drivers Showing Signs of Fatigue

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DOT road crews in North Dakota and Minnesota have not had more than a couple days off since the beginning of month. The same is true for many city departments.

It is starting to wear on workers.

One equipment operator for the City of West Fargo, Dan Mangin, has seen it all. The 16-year veteran says, "The worst is when the snow is real high on the one side and it starts blowing up."

Mangin can tell some stories through his experience. "I had a train startin' to come across, and the cross arms came down, and it was so icy, and I kinda took off sideways," he says.

But he also will tell you he has plenty of "white knuckle" moments. "When that snow blows across the windshield and you can't see anything for a couple seconds, it's kinda nerve-wracking."

That is especially true when equipment operators have to worry not just about clearing roads and their own safety, but your safety as well.

"they don't realize how easy it is to get stuck, then we come behind and we don't see them," says Mangin.

Add in the extra hours this winter, and you have some mentally and physically fatigued operators.

Mangin explains, "Overtime is nice. Extra money is nice, but after awhile when you go out all the time, it really gets old."

Bob Olson, a manager with the City of West Fargo, says, "We're usually running 10-12 hour shifts on the weekends when we get an event."

While the city is not catching any breaks from mother nature, it is providing relief to those operators as much as possible.

"We make sure they're off at least 8, 10 to even 12 hours off at one time," says Olson.

West Fargo has 16 operators. Usually six to eight people are on at a time keeping snow emergency routes open. But even with this plan, city workers say enough is enough.

"We're all getting tired of winter," says Olson.

Plows are focus on snow emergency routes and any other main roads they can get to when the snow is falling and wind is blowing.

Once the wind dies down, they start hitting residential areas.

When all the plows are out, it usually takes 10-12 hours to cleanup the entire city.

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