It may not get a nod from the Academy, but the video Barton County Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips publicly premiered Monday morning during the County Commission meeting earned praises from critics.
The Road and Bridge Department personnel developed a 10-minute video dealing with snow plow operations. “This shows what they do when they get up in the morning,” Phillips said of the work that often involves plowing in the bitter cold with only the light from headlights and virtually zero visibility.
“That was absolutely phenomenal,” commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz said. “I feel like I was there and did that.”
Entitled “Snow Fighter – Fury,” the video by Alan Baxter features a rock sound track with AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” and Metallica’s “Sandman.” There are action shots from the cab of a plow in action with a huge white plume of snow, scenes from a camera attached to blade of a machine as it bounces down a county road and views of mountainous piles of snow.
“People don’t know what they do when they get out there,” Phillips said. “It impresses me.” Phillips uses the film in during pre-winter training in November.
“The people come up with new ways to do their jobs,” he said. “They really come together as a team.”
Phillips said they can put 12 to 14 plow trucks on the road at one time, plus road graders if needed. There are also 12 sand spreaders available, critical to help with traction and aide in the melting process.
There are about 400 miles of paved roads in Barton County that have to be cleared and the first goal is to at least get one lane open to a state highway. They can get to all parts of the county in a matter of hours.
The plows barrel down these roads at speeds up to 45 miles per hour, sometimes sending clouds of snow over the top of the cabs. There is wear and tear on the plows (the blades only last through three runs before they have to be replaced) and the guys doing the driving (they have to keep a tight grip on the steering wheel because one slip can send them into a ditch).
“I don’t know how they do it,” Phillips said.