When snow begins to fall, most people head home to stay safe and warm during the winter storm. Meanwhile, VDOT crews and snow removal contractors like CJ Viviers are gearing up for a long night on the road. Viviers, 33, of Leedstown, is the farm manager of Eagle Tree farms and has worked as a snow removal contractor for the past eight years.
Viviers explained that when snow is in the forecast, he knows to expect a call from VDOT. However, these calls are usually only made 2-3 hours in advance. Once there is around 2-3 inches of snow sticking to the road, Viviers leaves the farm and heads to clean his assigned roads. To get to the main roads, he helps to clear the roads of Leedstown on his way out.
“We clean the roads up nonstop until they tell us to go somewhere else,” Viviers said. Sometimes this non-stop work can last for many hours. In the most recent snowstorm, Viviers pushed snow for 30 hours over two days. On Feb. 12 he worked on the road from 10 p.m. – 11 a.m. and on Feb. 13 from 7 p.m. -11 a.m.
These long hours of pushing snow are only broken up with short stops every thirty minutes or so for bathroom breaks, coffee and snacks, to check the vehicle or because of problems with the equipment. Viviers said he has had to deal with breakdowns and air filters clogging with ice, which he must fix and then get back to clearing the roads.