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Workers tested by snow

Parent wasnt alone. He and the rest of the Ticonderoga highway department have been working long hours since the Valentines Day storm that dumped nearly three feet of snow on the community. Phil Huestis, Tis highway superintendent, called his crew into work at 4 a.m. Feb. 14 to begin plowing roads. They worked 34 consecutive hours to keep roads passable. Since Feb. 16 the highway crew, assisted by members of the town water department, have been working 16-hour shifts cleaning up huge snow banks and clearing sidewalks. Huestis hoped all the work would be complete by this weekend. Its gone as well as it could, Huestis said. It was a big snow; a lot of snow. And a big job for the 13-member Ti highway department. The department is responsible for 48 miles of town roads, 25 miles of county roads and 13.5 miles of state highway. Thats 86.5 miles but when you consider that each road is two lanes, the town crew must clear 173 miles of roads. And then there are 16 miles of sidewalks, six parking lots, the trash transfer station and the airport to be maintained. On top of that, there are unexpected problems. At the height of the storm a medical emergency required a patient to be transferred from Moses-Ludington Hospital in Ticonderoga to Burlington, Vt. The LifeFlight helicopter was grounded by the storm, so the town highway crew was called and asked to lead an ambulance to the Crown Point town line where a state plow would take over and lead the ambulance into Vermont. Parent, the deputy highway superintendent, and Huestis drew the assignment. It was tough going; so tough the state plow failed to make the scheduled rendezvous. We waited at the Crown Point line for a while and the guys in the ambulance said they had to get going; they just couldnt wait, Parent said. So, we did what we had to do. There were places we were busting through 6-foot drifts. The Ti plow escorted the ambulance to the Champlain Bridge, where a Vermont plow took over. Working throughout the storm and its aftermath have been Huestis, Parent, Rick Quensel, Dick Avery, Kent Belden, Mitch Cole, Farley Ezzo, Harold Towne, Jared French, Fred Hunston Jr., Tim Huestis, John Porter and Ed Hargett of the highway department and Bob LaBounty, Derek Fleury, Brian Veneto and Rich Dedrick of the water department. While the Ticonderoga highway crew worked long hours in tough conditions, not everyone has been pleased with its efforts. People have complained about plows hitting their mailboxes, about plows filling in the ends of their driveways, about delays in reaching side streets and more. Its hard to keep everyone happy, Huestis said. Everyone thinks we should clear in front of their house first. We do the best we can, its all we can do. Which is good enough for Ti Supervisor Bob Dedrick. I think overall the highway department has done an exceptional job, Dedrick said. I know some individuals were upset, but you cant fault the highway department for its response to the storm. The Ti highway crew is bracing for more winter weather, but looking forward to spring. Ill be glad to mow some grass, Parent smiled.

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