Range residents express plowing safety concerns

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Seen here is Second Street in South Range. The village streets have grown narrow while the snow-go has been out of service. Residents say this has made it extra dangerous when plow drivers will not slow down.

SOUTH RANGE — Residents spoke about safety concerns surrounding the drivers of village snow removal vehicles at Thursday’s Village Council meeting.

Tim Korby, who lives on Whealkate Drive, said his wife was nearly hit by a dump truck last week when driving with their 4-year-old in the car.

“She was pretty upset,” Korby said. “Pretty distraught, obviously scared.”

She had called the village, and Korby wanted to be sure that the issue had been followed up on.

“I have to admit, I constantly see the drivers just flying around,” he said. “That front-end loader will kill someone.”

He said the problem is compounded by the extra snow this year and the narrowness of the roads.

“I know they do a good job and there’s a lot of snow to remove this year,” he said. “But the reality is our safety has to be number one priority, period. Especially my kids.”

Council President Justin Marier confirmed Korby’s story, saying street commissioner Bob Bonini had witnessed the incident.

“Bob talked to the entire crew as a whole and reaffirmed safety has to come before productivity in the village here,” Marier said. “On behalf of the village, I can’t apologize enough.”

A letter of reprimand was also added to the employee’s file.

“We’ve got one driver in particular that does drive too fast,” Bonini said. “And we’re constantly telling him to slow down, and he’s going, ‘That’s the way I drive.'”

“Then he needs to be let go,” said Vickey Anderson, Korby’s neighbor.

Marier and Korby both agreed it was an unacceptable response to the safety concerns.

The condition of the roads was also acknowledged by Marier and Bonini.

“It’s one of those things,” Marier said. “About the worst possible time, everything broke down.”

Both of the village’s graders have broken down but are now back in service. One of the village’s front-end loaders is still out for repair.

One of the plow trucks had its transmission fail, but it has been repaired. The snowgo is also broken but is expected to be back in service next week.

“As soon as we get that fixed, we’ll be back widening the roads again,” Bonini said.

Korby recognized that this winter has been a special case.

“I’m just saying this is all related because it makes it more unsafe,” he said.