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No-Snow November Means Peoria Public Works Is Saving Time and Money

A n0-snow November was a welcome change for Peoria Public Works.

Deputy Director Sie Maroon said his department has saved on several hundred tons of salt and overtime hours ordinarily used in November, thanks to the unusually mild weather.

"You know, we're not really using the amount of fuel that we would normally use. The amount of salt. The amount of brine," Maroon said. "It's really almost overwhelming to think about what's happening for us."

By this time last year, Peoria already had seen more than 6 inches of snow. In November 2018, it was more than 9 inches.

Maroon said Public Works is taking advantage of the extra weeks of clear weather and manpower to wrap up construction projects that would have otherwise waited until next year, including smoothing out a notorious road bump on Pioneer Parkway.

"We start prepping in October for the snow season. We start switching over the equipment, and getting the trucks ready," Maroon said. "We were able to do that, but at the same time, we were able to send a crew out to Pioneer Parkway and get that concrete project taken care of. It's a much better situation for people who are traveling out there now."

Public Works hasn't been spared from the rounds of layoffs and cuts the city council approved to balance the 2020 budget after COVID-19 caused expected sales tax and hotel revenues to come up far shorter than anticipated.

Maroon said the city has reduced its 21 designated snow plow routes to 17. That means fewer trucks will be making wider rounds.

"We're going to continue doing what we do, and we're going to do it the way we've always done it, and attack these routes," Maroon said. "We're not going to change our method of operation. But routes are longer. There's going to be more miles of routes on the truck. So what we're asking for is some patience."

Maroon said motorists shouldn't anticipate many road closures going into the winter with most roads  opened in time, including Sheridan Road.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.