PARLEY’S CANYON, Utah — Snow plow crews with UDOT gave up celebrating Thanksgiving with their families to clear snow off one of Utah’s busiest thoroughfares.
The first round of snow in a series of winter storms reached Parley’s Canyon around noon Thursday. Crews were working well before that time to get ahead of the snowfall on Interstate 80.
“We can’t afford to have it dump a bunch of snow and then have it called out,” said UDOT transportation technician Lee Squires as he drove a snow plow.
Working in an area with very active winters, Squires is used to missing holiday celebrations.
“Usually every holiday we are working,” Squires said. “Every Christmas, every New Years, we are out plowing.”
Before the storm arrives, workers pre-treat the roads with a brine solution.
Then, as the snow falls, crews work to get it off the road. Any delay could cause snow to accumulate and create unsafe conditions.
“People are going to be spinning out,” Squires said. “This is a high semi route. We have a lot of semis coming through Parley’s Canyon. They will not be able to make it up that hill.”
If that were to happen, the busy interstate would be forced to close.
After Squires and other members of the team completed several runs with their plows, the road was clear of any snow or slush.
The job isn’t free of danger. Sometimes, unaware drivers create unnecessary hazards.
“People really don’t care about the flashing lights,” Squires said. “A lot of times they just keep going. They’ll get up next to you and it makes it very dangerous.”
Despite the challenges and the sacrifices it takes to get the job done, Squires believes it’s worth it to keep his neighbors safe.
“It feels real good to be able to help the people of Utah,” Squires said.
UDOT asks motorists to never cut plows off and to be aware of their presence.