Winchester’s leaf truck up, running after being idle
The City of Winchester has recently shown that it’s always committed to serving its residents.
When the city’s leaf truck broke down last week, Winchester Street Department workers didn’t take a break from picking up leaves. Instead they continued their route, going from street to street collecting residents’ leaves manually, rakes in hand.
As of Monday morning, Public Works Supervisor Steve Goodwin said the leaf truck was “up and running” once again.
“The truck was down just three or four days, but it definitely does put us a little behind on our pick up schedule,” he said.
Jerry Sharp, Jason Taylor and Raybon Pruitt, with the Winchester Street Department, work picking up leaves at Murray Lake subdivision this week. Though the leaf truck was down a few days last week, it’s working again and can be seen being used around Winchester.
Goodwin explained it takes the Winchester Street Department anywhere from three weeks to a month to make a complete trip to all the houses located within the city’s limits.
“There are about 3,800 homes in the city,” he said.
Though one might think that leaf and brush pick up is something that only occurs in the fall, the street department’s work crews spend a large part of the year doing it.
“We run our route for about six months,” Goodwin said. “Sometimes we’re still out with the leaf truck until April or May.”
According to City Administrator Beth Rhoton, repairing the leaf truck was inexpensive and only required getting a new part.
“It wasn’t a major repair but the leaf truck was off the road for a couple days until we were able to get it fixed,” she said. “We have a mechanic on staff so we were able to fix the truck as soon as the part got in.”
It’s not unusual for the street department’s chipper or leaf trucks to break down every now and again.
However, Goodwin mentioned the reason it occurs most is not because the trucks are old or the equipment is faulty. The number one reason a truck goes down is due to residents putting items that aren’t leaves — twigs and brush in with their leaf piles.
“The crews have found everything from bike handle bars to mower blades in the piles,” he said.
Fortunately for the men picking up the leaves and brush, they haven’t been hurt.
“The smasher on the truck is working at a high (rounds per minute), so it’s potentially dangerous if pieces of these items were to come flying out,” Goodwin said.
Therefore, whenever driving past a city truck and watching the workers pick up leaves, one should have a new respect for the job these men do, because it’s not an easy, he said.
“A lot of time people will see the guys out with the hose picking up leaves, and it doesn’t look all that hard, but they don’t realize that in several subdivisions there are ditches that are three to four feet deep,” Goodwin said. “Our crews really have to get in there and really work to get out all the leaves and brush.”
Goodwin thanks his crews for all they do to ensure that the city continues its leaf and brush pick up, which is a free service for all city residents.
Rhoton also commended the street department staff for it’s help and for keeping up their duties even when the truck was down.
“This time of year is the busiest for our street department workers,” she said. “They work very hard to provide the services the citizens expect. Even with the leaf truck running, it’s not unusual to see some crews doing it by hand if it is small amounts. Everyone just works together to get it done. They do much more than the citizens realize.”