Riding along with highway plow during Nor'easter
NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Seatbelt on. Safety first. We rode along with John Marra, a highway maintenance worker who has been with the New York State Department of Transportation for 21 years.
"Snow is work for us," he said.
His beat is the Long Island Expressway between exits 48 and 52; Round Swamp Road and Commack Road. With a storm like the one that hit Wednesday, he can drive anywhere from 300 to 400 miles a day.
"It's either seven to eight trucks starting at the wall and working our way down to the shoulder," Marra said. "We clean off the road in one pass, dropping salt behind us."
The New York State DOT has more than 300 plows on the road and more than 400 people staffing the storm. The crews are responsible for about 4,000 lane-miles on Long Island. Their job on this day was to clear the roads and keep travelers safe.
"Now it's basically just staying on top of it. Supposedly later on we're supposed to get two to three inches an hour," he said. "That's when the heavy stuff is supposed to start."
Marra said drivers are supposed to keep their distance but many do not.
"We have signs on the back that say 'Keep Back 200 Feet' but nobody really pays attention," he said. "They're like right on our rear bumper."
Marra and everyone else working outside in this weather try to stay positive.
"We're almost in April so how many more can we get, you know?" Marra said.