Towns earn applause for snow removal

February 7, 2014 

No good deed should go unnoticed, so I want to tip my Cubs cap to the snow-removal crews in Smithfield and Clayton.

Normally, I can count on the N.C. Department of Transportation to quickly plow highways 301 and 70 Business in Smithfield, also known as Bright Leaf Boulevard and Market Street, respectively. So when I headed to work on Thursday, after staying home on Wednesday, I decided to take 301 to Market Street, figuring Market Street would be clearer than South Third Street, an alternative route to my downtown Smithfield office.

I found 301 to be passable, not perfect, but navigable. As I entered town, near Carroll Pharmacy, I could see South Third Street, and it looked fairly clear. But experience told me that Market Street would be better still, so I kept going, figuring I would turn left onto Market Street from 301 and make it safely to my office.

But Market Street was a sheet of ice; a DOT spokeswoman later told a reporter that in Johnston County, the state had focused Wednesday’s snow-removal efforts on interstates 40 and 95.

So I stayed on 301, hoping that North Street, near the Department of Social Services, was as clear as South Third Street had looked. It was close, so I turned left there and then left onto a mostly clear North Third Street. I parked in the lot behind the library.

On Wednesday, while working from home, I chatted with Clayton reporter Samantha Gilman, who made it into the office that day. She said U.S. 70 was a mess but that town streets were clear. That’s because town crews had taken to the streets Tuesday evening and plowed through the night.

Kudos to both towns for clearing their streets so that the rest of us could get to work safely.

And one more thing before I forget: After parking at the library, I did not have to navigate icy sidewalks to reach my office. Smithfield had already cleared those too. Scott Gandolf, owner of Gandolfo’s Deli, said he had come into town Wednesday just to clear the sidewalk in front of his sandwich shop. No need; the town had taken care of that.

Government doesn’t always work the way we want it to. When it does, it’s worth noting and applauding.

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