Keeping the streets sanded: Street department working round the clock to keep main thoroughfares as drivable as possible

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
Traffic was light on South Commerce Street Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, after several inches of snow fell on Ardmore over the weekend.

Sand trucks from the City of Ardmore have been out on the streets sanding roads since Sunday morning and will continue to do so until the majority of snow and ice has melted. Street Superintendent Don Olive said preparations for this week’s storm began well before the first flake ever hit the ground.

“We knew that this was coming,” Olive said. “We work closely with Emergency Management, so we got our sanders on the trucks. We also had to make sure that we had enough sand on hand to last the week so we had more of that trucked in.”

Olive said when winter weather hits, his crew immediately switches to two crews, a day crew and a night crew, with 12-hour shifts. The shifts are set up in advance so that they are ready to begin 24-hour operations as soon as needed.

“Each sander has a route sheet and they go by that sheet,” he said. “So those four trucks stay on those routes, and when they finish up with the route they’ll start right back over and do it again.”

He said their top priority is making sure the the roads remain as passible as possible in front of the hospital and all of the city’s emergency services. The next priority is sanding main thoroughfares in town such as Commerce, Washington, 12th and Broadway, though they also sand secondary roads such as Chickasaw Boulevard and Robison as well as areas known trouble spots that have caused problems in the past.

He said the routes usually take around two hours to complete before drivers start over again, but the extremely cold recent temperatures have somewhat slowed things down.

“If everything goes right, it usually takes around a couple hours, but this time it’s been a little different because of the extreme freezing temperatures,” Olive said. “We’d get the sand on the truck and then it would try to freeze on you, so there have been a few variables.”

He said the sand trucks will continue making their rounds through Friday and possibly into the weekend.

“We’ll probably be doing this through at least Friday when temperatures are supposed to get back above freezing,” Olive said. “On Saturday we’ll have to see because what melts during the day on Friday may try to freeze right back up overnight. So we’re going to stay on it until it’s all taken care of.”