Think of it like the opposite of Groundhog Day. Sure, it’s only a drill. But with snowplows coming out of the garage and hitting the streets of Prince George’s County, Maryland, maybe that’s a sign that winter’s imminent.
“We’re preparing so that if it snows tomorrow, we’re ready to go,” said Paulette Jones, a spokeswoman for the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transit. “We want to always be prepared and so we’re being proactive. We’re doing our dry run today.”
A dry run includes sending plows and drivers out on the snow routes to make sure that all the equipment works and that the roads are ready for the next batch of sloppy, slushy muck and ice.
“We’ve been fortunate that we’ve had mild winters, but we really don’t know what’s going to happen each season,” Jones said. “No matter what happens we just always want to be prepared. We know that at some point we’re probably due for a significant snow.”
That’s why Santos Turcius was getting behind the wheel of a monstrous, 29,000-pound plow Friday morning, checking everything from the blade of the plow to the CB radio that keeps him connected to the command center.
“You’re clear, Santos,” said the dispatcher as he drove past some houses on Laura Lane in District Heights. He thanked the dispatcher before getting ready to make a turn.
“We get to inspect every single road for potholes, any debris, any division that we can see that needs some attention — we can report it,” Turcius said. “So we can get it fixed and be ready for a snow event.”
By the time winter does roll around, county residents will be able to get real time road conditions and an update on where plows have been and where they’re going, thanks to the PGC Trip Mobile app, available on Apple and Android.
But for now, again, this was only a drill.