Local News

Snow Equipment at Center of Storm Between DOT and Person County

Posted January 16, 2008 10:57 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2008 11:58 p.m. EST

— Snowy weather is at the center of a storm brewing between the State Department of Transportation and Person County.

The DOT's new snow-removal plan will take equipment from Person County and use it on major roadways around the Triangle. That is not sitting well with Person County leaders and their citizens.

DOT splits the state into 14 Divisions: Wake, Durham, Person counties are included in Division 5.

When it comes to major highways, there are more of them in the Triangle than Person County, like Interstate 40 and Interstate 85. Since these highways are usually priority No. 1 when it snows, DOT says it's trying to maximize its resources by moving equipment from Person County.

“I don't like it. I don't like it at all,” former Roxboro council member Wally Burke said. “We just don't see the reason to take our trucks out of District 5 and take them to Durham, Wake County, Raleigh."

WRAL talked with the DOT chief maintenance engineer Brandon Jones about the plan. He said it is designed to clear major roadways within 12 hours of a snowstorm that drops 2 to 4 inches.

To meet that deadline, Jones said DOT depots in the Triangle will get nine of the 13 snow plows and spreaders based in Person County. At the present time, Jones said, Wake and Durham counties don't have enough trucks to go around.

“We're losing resources, obviously, but I understand he needs to put them where he needs to put them,” Person County Manager Steve Carpenter said.

Carpenter said he is concerned his community is getting short-changed, however. When snow is in the forecast, he said, Roxboro usually gets hit. Under the current plan, miles and miles of secondary roads that usually get plowed could go untouched for days, he added.

“If you can't get out to the highway, you can't get to school, work, hospital – you can't do anything,” Carpenter added.

Jones said the plan is to leave at least six DOT trucks in Person County along with six contractors.

As for the wintry weather heading this way Thursday, DOT does not plan to move any trucks out of Person County because it is not expected to be a measurable snow event.