ERIE, Ill (KWQC) "The snow in this section was approximately six feet deep, pictures from the snow storm last week show just what road commissioners, like Jim Burden, dealt with in Whiteside County.
"It falls upon me as road commissioner to see to it that all the people in the township are safe in the winter time,” says Burden.
At 73 years old—he serves as road commissioner for Newton Township.
The job and its demands are nothing new to him.
"I was the road commissioner out here in 78/79/80. It’s a very big responsibility, especially in a bad winter.”
And a bad winter it’s been. Jim says this year’s snowfall and wind have been the worst he’s seen.
He says he dealt with equipment failures that delayed his work during last week’s storms. Burden contacted the county for help, but they were busy with their own roads.
Burden and his two helpers, his daughter Jackie Naftzger and assistant Eric Jackson, tackled the 53 mile Newton jurisdiction on their own.
"I ran on approximately 1 to 3 hours of sleep, every day. That was it,” says Burden. “I had to keep going- fixing the equipment, moving the snow, making sure everyone was as safe as I could make them."
Burden says clearing off country roads in the winter takes time, and many people don’t understand that, and driving big equipment on narrow roads can get dangerous.
"You can see maybe ten feet in front of you- if that,” says Burden. “I got stuck. 25 or 20 below zero, and there I was.”
But after years of experience. Burden already knows what to expect from his country roads, and he prepares well for the job.
"A lot of coffee, a lot of music. Some nasty old cigarettes, and once in a while a bite to eat. That’s about it."
Burden hopes that people in country townships will be more understanding when road cleanup doesn't happen as quickly as they'd like.