Suffolk County beefs up snow removal operation

COMMACK, Long Island (WABC) -- Officials in Suffolk County said Tuesday the county is more prepared than ever to respond to snowstorms this winter.

The county has purchased 12 new 10-wheel dump trucks, which can be converted into plows. Several of the trucks are ready to hit the streets as soon as the first snow storm strikes. The rest will arrive throughout the year.

Five of the plows were paid for entirely with FEMA funding. Seven others have been paid for with Suffolk County capital funds. Each plow costs about $250,000.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the trucks have the capability to pre-wet salt before depositing on the roadway, which makes the salt more effective on the ice. In turn, crews will have to use less salt overall.

The county also received three new payloaders, which can be used for snow removal. All of the payloaders were paid for by federal funds.

"We're continuing to increase our preparedness and get better every year, because as we have seen these storms seemed to have gotten worse every year," Bellone said at a press conference Tuesday at the Suffolk County DPW salt yard in Commack.

Two Suffolk County highway patrol pickup trucks will now have winches to allow officers to more quickly and efficiently help disabled drivers.

"What we had been doing was using tow straps to pull the cars out, but we risked damaging private vehicles doing that and we also put strain on the transmissions, the transfer cases, of our vehicles," said Suffolk County Police Chief Stuart Cameron.

Cameron said the department hopes to secure two more winches through federal grant funding.

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