Because of the magnitude of main roads assigned, plow drivers frequently cannot get to every high traffic area before conditions deteriorate. And in particularly bad conditions (e.g., high snowfall rate), plow drivers may not even be able to keep up. In spite of continuous attention to their routes, conditions will deteriorate quickly between passes. Especially in these cases, the residential areas can expect to receive less attention until the storm lets up. As a result, the final condition of the residential areas may be worse than the main roads.
During storm events, the two-way radio is continuously monitored at the Public Works Department to communicate with the drivers. The Police and Communication Center monitor the same radio frequency and communicate with the PW Department as necessary. Thus, if a special need arises, drivers can be vectored in to spot treat the location. There have been cases when drivers have been pulled off their route(s) to aid another driver in such circumstances. Obviously, if this occurs, the assisting drivers will get behind in their own route(s).
Equipment is well maintained and operated, however, breakdowns do occur. Because of the number of trucks on the road during major events, it is typical that one or more will breakdown during the course of a long storm event. In these cases plowing delays are inevitable, and can be large depending on the magnitude of the equipment problem(s) and whether the unit can be repaired and return to its route.
Also, drivers need reasonable time to eat meals. Drivers seek opportune times to eat, if storm conditions allow, so that route conditions suffer as little as possible. In extended storms, drivers will need down time to rest. Drivers will typically not rest unless the event exceeds 36 hours, opting rather to stay on their routes to keep up with the storm.