We haven’t gotten hit yet with a big snow storm, but Talbot County Roads Department is ready with material in the Salt Barn for when it happens. Talbot County has over 374 miles of roads which need to be cared for throughout the year. This includes programmed and routine maintenance, paving, ditching, tree removal, and culvert replacements. But it is winter, that is especially a busy time when the county’s 24 employees cover 13 snow routes, pre-treating, salting, sanding, and removing snow until the event is over and all the roads are clear.
According to Warren Edwards, Superintendent for Talbot County Roads Department, “My biggest advice when bad weather hits, is to be patient, don’t tailgate our equipment, and try and stay off the roads if you possibly can, so we can get the roads cleared.”
Edwards, who has over 38 years of experience with road construction, has been with the county for four years. Each of the county’s 13 routes has at least one truck, and sometimes two to three trucks depending on the route. Talbot County Roads Department has 14 trucks and has hired three additional trucks with plows and salt spreaders to meet the needs of the county snow removal. Private contractors are hired for designated routes based on need.
He adds, “With snow storms, Talbot County offers assistance to all municipalities in the county, as they do us, as well as to the State Highway Administration.”
But it’s the dedication of the county’s 24 employees that often goes unnoticed. More than half of the staff of the Roads Department have over 20 years of experience. For a storm which puts down three inches of snow, it can take eight to 10 hours to complete the snow removal and 12 inches of snow can take up to 30 hours to remove.
Edwards comments, “Our employees are experienced, diligent and seasoned employees. They know their jobs and they do them well. We work straight through these storms, staying in radio contact with drivers every four hours to be sure everything is alright on the routes. They work until the event is over.”
The Roads Department is in contact with Talbot County Operations Center throughout weather events to clear roads for ambulances and fire equipment. The agency also reaches out to each of the towns in the county to offer help. In the case of a whiteout, snow removal trucks are stationed at the local fire departments throughout the county to work with them in opening roads in the case of emergencies.
“The roads are a necessity that people tend to forget,” Edwards adds.
Edwards points out that customer service is the most important thing in his business. He points to more and more weather seasons where there are drainage issues affecting the roads and where infrastructures are failing. Talbot County Roads Department employees are on call from 3 hours to 35 hours a week all years long handling the effects of wind, hurricanes, storms and culvert failures throughout the county.
Talbot County Roads Department gets between 110 and 160 road complaints a month, in addition to routine maintenance issues. Every complaint is logged into a card system so that the department can address all citizen concerns. Edwards comments, “We have to prioritize the complaints based on the need, but we want citizens to report their concerns so that we can get ahead of issues that do occur.”
The number to call at the Talbot County Roads Department for concerns is 410-770-8150.