Lynchburg crews face unique snow removal challenges

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Clearing snow from pavement can be tough in any community.

Lynchburg presents its own unique set of challenges.

"We're the city of seven hills, which makes things very difficult," said public works director, Gaynelle Hart.

The rugged landscape is tricky for plow truck drivers like Timyarn Benjamin to navigate.

"The hills make it hard," Benjamin told WDBJ7. "You're either coming down sliding or going up and getting stuck."

Hills aren't the only reason Lynchburg's residential streets stay snow covered so long after every snowstorm.

Crews usually put salt down on main roads before winter weather hits, but they don't have enough chemicals to cover paths through city neighborhoods.

"Since there is no salt down in the residential (neighborhoods), they often become snow covered and frozen," Hart said. "Once they're frozen the plows can not get snow off the residential streets."

That often causes people to call and complain.

After every snowfall Lynchburg Public Works opens a "snow operations center," where city workers field requests for service and dispatch crews to address concerns.

Drivers like Benjamin will usually visit the problem spots and spread abrasives like gravel.

"There is not too much you can do about the ice," explained Benjamin. "You have to let the sun do its work and you have to let us do our work."

"All we ask is patience and understanding," said Hart. "Snow is difficult for everybody."

In addition to putting down abrasives, public works is also going into some neighborhoods and spreading what they call a "hot mix" to try and melt the ice, especially on hills.

They hope warmer temperatures will take care of the rest later in the week.