Rising temperatures last weekend allowed Pickerington and Violet Township workers to take a break from a recent spate of snow-removal efforts.

Rising temperatures last weekend allowed Pickerington and Violet Township workers to take a break from a recent spate of snow-removal efforts.

Late January and most of February have been busy for Pickerington and Violet Township employees who have worked steadily for nearly two weeks to keep local roadways clear of ice and snow.

Pickerington Service Department director Ed Drobina said workers in his department and in Greg Bachman's engineering department racked up 374 overtime hours as of Feb. 6 trying to keep city streets cleared.

At that time, the extra hours already had cost the city $11,251 in overtime pay.

Also during that time, 1,575 tons of rock salt were used. The threat of more inclement weather provoked Pickerington City Council on Feb. 16 to authorize spending an additional $30,000 from Drobina's 2010 budget to buy more salt.

"That'll buy us 600 tons," he said. "If we have normal weather, we should be good."

In Violet Township, approximately 1,600 tons of salt had been used to clear local streets as of Feb. 19, according to township engineer Greg Butcher.

He said full-time and part-time township employees had accumulated about 400 hours in overtime, which cost the township approximately $10,000.

"While we have been extremely busy, the execution of our snow and ice removal procedures has gone very smoothly," Butcher said. "We have about 700 tons of salt on hand."

In 2009, Pickerington spent approximately $95,000 to keep city streets clear and to cover 533 employee overtime hours. The city used about 1,170 tons of rock salt, according to information Drobina previously provided.

Last winter, Violet Township used about 1,000 tons of rock salt and spent approximately $60,000 on its snow-removal efforts. While this year's usage already has exceeded that amount, it's still less than the approximately 2,000 tons the city used during the winter of 2007-08, Butcher said.

As for associated problems, both municipalities reported few. Drobina said it's been a challenge for the city's small staffs in the service and engineering departments to keep up, but they've done a good job.

"I think for the amount of snow and number of snows, things have gone fairly well," he said. "We had several pieces of equipment break down, (but) nothing really major at this time.

"At the present time, both of our 1991 dump trucks are out of service due to broken plow mounting brackets which we are presently repairing and hope to have them up and running before the next snow."

Butcher echoed those sentiments, saying maneuvering in residential areas continues to make life difficult for plow drivers, but the township continues to seek better ways to tackle such tasks.

"There haven't been any unusual issues," he said. "Due to the sheer volume of snow, it has been more difficult than typical winters in finding places to push the snow, particularly in cul de sacs, where the layout of driveways and mailboxes makes it problematic.

"Going forward, we will be evaluating cul de sac design to attempt to minimize these issues," Butcher said. "Additionally, as a courtesy to residents, and after the snow events ends, township staff are attempting to repair mailboxes knocked down by the snow coming off of the plow."