Burke charged with keeping Glenview winter roadways safe
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:09AM
GLENVIEW — Glenview Public Works Director Jerry Burke is able to manage all of the slippery slopes on the job. During his 32-year-tenure as a public works employee in both Glenview and Skokie, he, along with his crew, use about 5,000 tons of salt a year clearing roadways during the icy winter months. Burke, a skokie resident, is proud of his crew, which began preparing last fall for Glenview’s next biggest snowstorm. He and his wife Colleen have one daughter, Megan, 6, a kindergartner at Skokie Madison Elementary School.
Q. So Jerry, how does your department gear up for Old Man Winter?
A. Well, we began in October getting all of the equipment ready, preparing for the upcoming season, checking all of the salt spreaders, the snow plows, reviewing our policies and procedures and then go through, kind of a dry-run of all of the sections that we do. The equipment operators drive through the sections, get themselves familiar with them before we do our first salting or plowing event. Teamwork is essential in doing this. Each section has two to four trucks in them depending on the storm. They work together in tandem, where they plow together to get all of the main roads cleared. And then they go off and break into the dead ends and cul de sacs and clear those last. But it is essential to work together as a team.
Q. How challenging is it to plow Glenview?
A. We use about 40 pieces of equipment in a normal operation to do a plowing of the whole community. There’s a no parking ban from December 1, mandating no parking from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., so we can plow all of the streets after hours, when everybody’s home and get the streets cleared curb to curb. In a normal plowing operation, we get all of our roads cleared curb to curb within eight hours to the end of the storm, six to eight hours is our goal to have the streets cleared of snow and ice from a storm.
Q. What is your most sensible piece of advice for residents during snow season?
A. To give us room to do our jobs, stay clear of the salt and plow trucks while they’re going down the streets. Give us enough safety space in between the vehicle and our plow trucks.
Q. Are residents and motorists typically patient during plow events?
A. For the most part they are. There are some that get right on the tail end of the trucks and follow too closely to our operation. It just causes a safety issue. Their car could get sprayed with salt, they may not be able to stop in time if they slide on the snow that we’re just plowing and salting off the roadway.
Q. Your hobbies?
A. I don’t have any winter hobbies. We all are here throughout the winter. We have to be available 24/7 for snow. In the summertime, I enjoy being outdoors. playing golf, yard and gardening work.
Q. Are you a summer or winter kind of guy?
A. I’m a summer guy. Yes.