MARION, SD -
When snow falls in Sioux Falls, there's a fleet of plows at the ready to clear roads. When it snows in Marion, there's just one man and his machine.
"Just kind of by myself right now and we have a couple people that come and help us just on a part-time basis for now," Marion City Superintendent Dustin Sulzue said.
Dustin Sulzue has lived in Marion for most of his life. He has many responsibilities including watching over the city's water and sewer, but when there's a heavy snowfall, his schedule is full.
"Usually about four to eight hours depending on how much snow we have, obviously if it's six, eight, ten inches or more it takes longer clearing off Broadway," Sulzue said.
In Bridgewater, it's a similar story for Todd Letcher. The City Maintenance Supervisor says it takes around eight hours to clean the whole town. He does get help from a council member, but he still sets guidelines to make sure his plow isn't working overtime.
"Usually if it's anything under three we won't mess with, just clean the sidewalks, maybe Main Street. Anything over four inches we'll go out and start plowing whenever the snow starts tapering off," City Maintenance Supervisor Todd Letcher said.
There are headaches in the process, as the smaller roads of Bridgewater can make cleaning difficult.
"Cars sitting along the side of the streets, that's the biggest, and then when they do move them and you got to try and go back and push where the car was sitting. It's a pain," Letcher said.
Even with the skeleton crews of both towns, the workers are happy with the resources they have.
"I think we have over the years we've updated equipment, keep things updated, well maintained in between snow storms. Keeping everything you know, tip-top shape so we don't have the breakdowns, that way everything runs a little smoother when it does snow and we have to move it," Sulzue said.
"Yeah we just got a new snowplow three years ago, and it works pretty well," Letcher said.
The effort of these men is not lost on the community. Margorie Sievers has owned a local convenience store with her husband in Bridgewater for twenty-three years. She is happy with the clean roads so she's able to get to work.
"I think they do a good job here in town. I think the highway department does a good job. I don't know, I never have any trouble getting stuck," Bridgewater Resident Margorie Sievers said.
The positive feedback from the community is what the workers say makes the hard work worthwhile.
"Yeah I get compliments and thanks and all that for getting out and getting them opened up early. It makes me feel really good," Letcher said.
With a long winter still ahead, these men will continue to work with limited resources and do whatever they can to make sure the city's roads, and its people, are safe.
"We try to do the best job with what we have," Marion City Superintendent Dustin Sulzue said.
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