DPW crews staying busy despite slow winter

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Snow lovers are still hoping for winter, while others are already thinking about spring!

DPW crews in the city of Syracuse are taking advantage of this unusually mild stretch of weather, giving snow plows a rest, and instead, finding other ways to stay busy during this slow winter.

“Usually we’re covered in snow in February, so we’re taking advantage of the good weather,” said Kevin Hunter, Superintendent of Street Repair at Syracuse DPW.

Crews are hitting the pavement repairing potholes in both residential neighborhoods and city roads throughout the city instead of plowing the streets.

“We’re out, filling an average of 40 to 50 potholes with two crews,” said Hunter.

It’s something you typically wouldn’t see this time of year.

“If there was snow they would not be focused on that, but because there’s no snow, they can focus on it more so,” said Ann Fordock, First Deputy Commissioner for the city of Syracuse DPW.

Hunter says the potholes take less than a minute to patch. But for now, it’s only a short-term repair.

“Right now in the winter time, we have a temporary cold patch, whereas in the summertime we have a hot patch which is permanent, a permanent fix,” said Hunter.

The lack of snow also allows crews to catch up on other work.

“Just cleaning up whatever we see in the city. Usually, we are covered in snow in February. So we’re taking advantage of the good weather,” said Hunter.

“Right now we’re doing a multitude of things, you are always littering picking, you’re always focused on downtown, it gets a lot of attention for littering picking, public trash cans, stuff like that,” said Fordock.

The city plans on even using its street sweepers this week if the weather stays above 50 degrees.

“They pick up the litter and clean up all the edges of the roads and it’s so helpful. You drive down the streets you’re going to see litter. We all see it once the snow melts,” said Fordock.

In 2023, DPW crews used approximately 20000 tons of salt during the winter season. So far this year, crews have used 7000 tons of salt. But that could always change.

“I think we all know we’re supposed to get something probably the end of February and into March. This week looks fantastic so we are all going to enjoy that. But I would just say it gives us time to catch up on other things,” said Fordock.

Keeping city streets clean, and pot-hole-free, before spring arrives.

“Usually around April we will start milling and paving our roads,” said Hunter.

Crews are staying busy until November, just in time for next winter, and they strongly rely on the public to help find potholes, so they can be filled as soon as possible.

Click here to learn how to report a pothole in the city of Syracuse.

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