PITTSTON TOWNSHIP — Get up close to a PennDOT truck and you’ll see it’s a monster of a truck, toting eight to 10 tons of salt with plows ready to push aside inches of snow ice and slush.
And operating it is no easy task.
“From noon to midnight, we usually run. During a storm, it’s a 12-hour shift,” said PennDOT plow operator Mike Mulvey.
For Mulvey, that’s 12 hours of driving through Pittston and up to Duryea over and over again, stopping mainly to load up with more salt and fuel.
“First thing, we usually do a pre-trip. we go over the entire truck. We check all the fluids, the tires, the lights, the plows, all the hydraulics,” explained Mulvey.
And once inside the truck, it’s a bumpy ride
Mulvey reports to the salt shed along Route 315 in Pittston Township, the home base for 10 or 11 plows on a day like this.
Drivers say they try their best to stay out of PennDOT ’s way when they see plows on the road.
“Just move over for them, get out of their way, let them do their job, that’s it,” said John Weiss of Laflin.
Ray Newport says in this storm he followed behind PennDOT plows.
“I followed four PennDOT trucks down up 80 and out 380 and it was really nice. I had a nice, comfortable ride because of PennDOT trucks doing such a good job laying the salt down and getting the roads ready.”
Mulvey says that’s good because there is nothing more dangerous than people driving between or passing in front of PennDOT trucks.
“We have the truck, plus everything that’s loaded in the truck. With the slippery roads on top of that, it makes it very hard to stop. So when they pull out in front of us, it gives you a good scare sometimes.”