“The show must go on”: Cole discusses continued snow removal efforts, praises city employees

By Jalen Maki

Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor

TOMAHAWK – With spring still a few months away and more snow sure to blanket the Northwoods, City of Tomahawk crews continue their work to keep the roads and streets clear of snow and ice. Public Works Director John Cole provided an update on the efforts and sang the praises of City of Tomahawk employees.

Cole said the plan is to continue to haul snow from the inner grid of the city. Most of the main roads are done or pushed back enough for the time being, he added.

“The crews will take snow from the curbs so we have a place for more snow, but more importantly so some of the catch basins are free of debris so when melt off starts, we can find the catch basins and steam accordingly,” Cole stated. “Last year was terrible with the snow in February and then all the flooding we had in March. I can tell you I do not want to live through that again, as it was a very difficult time answering the almost constant phone calls.”

Sometimes residents grow impatient with snow removal efforts, Cole said. Although Mother Nature is unpredictable, crews do their best to get the work done in a timely and quality manner.

“Some people get upset because we bury their driveway or the snow banks may be too high. With 40 miles of roads to maintain, we cannot possibly get it perfect.”

“The budgets take a beating with weather like we have had, not only on the personnel side of things, but also the fuel, sand and salt,” Cole added. “We do the best we can, but it isn’t like we can stop plowing snow. The show must go on.”

Cole noted that although the seemingly daily snow Tomahawk has received since the start of the year has made things difficult for the Department of Public Works, employees continue to work hard to ensure the roadways are safe for travel.

“The crew has been working on now 23 or 24 days in a row without a day off,” Cole said. “If they are not out plowing, salting or sanding, they are hauling the snow. I cannot say enough about the crew and the dedication that they show to the residents and visitors of the City of Tomahawk. Cancelling plans on weekends or missing events because the job comes first is a true testament of their work ethic. Getting up at 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. for days and weeks on end has been a grind on them, to say the least. Keeping the roads clear is a priority for us and we continue to do so until the spring thaw.”

The Department of Public Works has had its share of breakdowns and repairs this winter, Cole said, even with having the trucks routinely serviced and checked over.

“The miles and the wear and tear do take a toll on them,” he stated. “The good news is we have a great crew and they each take pride in the equipment and the job they do. I do want to give a huge thank you to Brian and the crew at Scaffidi Truck Center here in Tomahawk for the fast turnaround on a transmission replacement for us a couple of weeks ago on one of our patrol trucks. It is little things like that that make us continue to deliver great service to the people.”

Cole said crews will continue working to remove snow until “Mother Nature throws us some spring weather.”

“Until then, I ask the public to please be patient with us. We understand the frustrations of winter plowing. Before too long, people will be complaining about the potholes and why they are not filled in a timely manner,” he joked.

“I can say with all honesty we do a good job and try and give people the best service possible,” Cole stated. “If we haven’t made it to your road or area of the city yet, we will get there.”

Any questions about snow removal operations can be directed to Cole at 715-453-3654 or [email protected].

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