Public Works Employees Working Overtime

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Just a day after a water-main break causes hundreds of gallons of water to pour into a busy intersection, we’re learning this winter is not only damaging our roads, but breaking the city’s budget.

In the first 13 days of the year, Public Works Department employees have put in hours of overtime and we’re nowhere near done with the season.

Snow plow drivers in Beloit are getting a little bit of a break after snow storm after snow storm kept them in their trucks.

“We’ve had a lot more ice storms than in years past so keeping the roads open for traffic is a lot harder this year," said Paul Langbecker, a city of Beloit plow driver/

The drivers say they’re racking up about 35 hours of overtime on every paycheck.

Public Works employees in Rockford still haven’t gotten much of a break after Friday’s ice storm and Saturday’s snow, they’re now dealing with busted water mains like the one at Auburn and Kilburn that broke Sunday night. It was just one of four that broke over the weekend.

“As the frost goes down in the ground, it keeps shifting and when it shifts it breaks older water pipe and then we have water main breaks," said Tim Hanson with Rockford Public Works.

Many of the same workers fixing the pipe were out Saturday clearing our roads. Although it’s a rigorous schedule, you won’t hear a complaint out of these workers.

“They’re out there all hours, day and night, cold, warm, it doesn’t matter what they are but they are true professionals and they are the unsung heroes of the city of Rockford."

Now, they’re gearing up for the next round of work – 1 to 3 inches of snow on Tuesday.

“It’s part of my job. I just try to go out and roll with the punches and do the best we can," said City of Beloit Plow Driver Rick Saari.

Beloit’s streets operator says this is the busiest winter he can remember for roads crews in his 14 years on the job.

There’s not much the city can do to prevent the water mains from breaking. Most water mains last between 70 and 100 years. The city knows which ones are old, but workers don’t know when or where they’re going to break. When the city works on a street, like the South Main corridor reconstruction that’s going on right now, they replace the water mains.

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