Daryl Pitts has snow in his blood. These days, you might even call him the snow man.
ARDOT’s area maintenance supervisor for Stone County is a second-generation road-crew worker who remembers the long hours his father would put in to past weather-related events like those county residents are now experiencing.
“We work 12-hour shifts now, but back then they didn’t do that. They worked until they were so tired they couldn’t work any more, then they’d go home and sleep for three hours, then come back. I’ve seen my dad out for 30-hour stretches at a time, sleep a few hours, then go back. What he did always made an impression on me and I guess it caused me to do what I do now.
“I really love the snow, and that’s not like most people,” Pitts said. “I don’t like the ice, but I enjoy the snow. The feeling of helping the public get back on the road and get going again is something I enjoy, and I always have.”
Pitts manages a 13-member crew in Stone County with six dump trucks and two motor graders. He said the feeling is always the same when the winter forecasts become unpredictable.
“You’re always anticipating for what the worst-case scenario is and we try to prepare for that. We try to be pro-active and treat roads before hand if weather allows, but there’s always a lot of uncertainty. And if you’ve got rain coming in ahead of a winter storm, and in Arkansas that’s what we have many times, that prevents us from being able to pre-treat. At a certain point you just have to react to the storm and do what has to be done.”