Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

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Snowplows line up to clear snow on North 27th Street in 2020. 
Mayor discusses city of Lincoln winter operations
Bring it on, Mother Nature, the city of Lincoln is ready for you.
It has invested $3.6 million to buy 12 new “super combo” snowplows that will double the city’s capacity to clear Lincoln’s streets this winter, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announced Thursday, standing at a podium in the shadow of those new trucks.
“We know winters provide us with plenty of opportunities to react quickly and creatively,” she said, and increasing speed and intensity of winter storms in recent years have illustrated the need for the city to have a coordinated and comprehensive plan.
“When it comes to planning, we go big so you can go home,” she said.
In addition to the new trucks, the city purchased new brine technology and will hire up to 50 seasonal workers to help clear snow, efforts Lincoln Transportation and Utilities Director Liz Elliott said will allow crews to finish clearing routes up to two hours sooner.
The new trucks can multitask, clearing snow, spraying anti-icing material and spreading granular salt soaked in brine, eliminating the need for drivers to make trips to the maintenance shops to get different equipment for those tasks, Elliott said.
Additionally, the plows are wider, which means they can clear a larger area with one trip and they’ll be able to clear streets more quickly.
“It’s like two plows in one,” Elliott said.
In the summer, the trucks will be used to haul material to and from construction and maintenance sites.
The city already custom-brews its own brine recipes, saving $100,000-$300,000 annually, Elliott said, and new technology will make using that brine more efficient.
A new truck fill station will allow workers to vary the combinations of brine ingredients to match the severity of each storm and load different brine recipes to match different amounts of snow and ice across the city, she said.
Winter has brought a mixed bag of weather conditions over recent years in Lincoln. Last winter, the city saw just 5.1 inches of snow, an all-time record low. The previous year,  Lincoln recorded 49.4 inches. 
An average winter drops 26 inches of snow on Lincoln streets.
The city will hold a hiring event for snowplow drivers on Nov. 9 from 5-8 p.m. at the Municipal Services Center, 949 W. Bond St. Applicants can fill out applications and interview for the job during the event.
Residents can help the city’s snow-fighting efforts by waiting to ask city crews for assistance until the storm has ended and arterial and emergency routes are cleared; by monitoring plowing efforts with the city’s online snowplow tracker; and requesting additional help at uplink.lincoln.ne.gov, Elliott said.
A Lincoln man struggles to move his car as snow continues to fall during a blizzard in 1971.
Brothers stand on top of the 15- to 20-feet-tall snowdrifts in front of their buried house 15 miles south of Chadron. This blizzard happened in March of 1966.
Hundreds of cars and drivers were buried up to their axles in West Omaha after a blizzard dumped 11-16 inches of snow in 1975.
A mother and child and their truck are dwarfed by drifts more than 20 feet tall after the infamous Blizzard of 1949.
This snow-covered view of Lincoln in 1974 may be a somewhat familiar sight to residents after 8 inches of snow fell over the weekend.
Utility poles and lines near David City were toppled by an icy, windy storm in 1966.
A blizzard in 1978 may have ruined their fun, but the Boy Scouts of Troop #213, Chadron, sure had their skills tested when snow struck their camping trip at Fort Robinson State Park.
A farmer had to dig through scores of feet of snow in order to feed his chickens after the Blizzard of 1949. The coop was completely submerged in snow.
Dozens of workers attempt to dig out a steam train stuck on the tracks after the Blizzard of 1912, putting the unshoveled sidewalks and driveways of more than a century later into sharp perspective.
Army National Guardsmen of the 24th Medical Co. prepare to leave Lincoln for a relief mission in western Nebraska. The area was hit hard and isolated by a blizzard in 1975.
The isolation of several rural communities after the Blizzard of 1949 was so bad the army had to be called in to deliver food in all-terrain, tracked vehicles.
A boy and his dog are thankful for food delivered by the army after the Blizzard of 1949.
Civilian pilots deliver food to rural residents near Curtis after the Blizzard of 1949. Several rural communities were completely isolated for several days after the infamous storm.
Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.
On Twitter @LJSreist

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Local government reporter
Margaret Reist is a recovering education reporter now writing about local and county government and the people who live in the city where she was born and raised.
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Snowplows line up to clear snow on North 27th Street in 2020. 
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