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Snowplow drivers working to keep Utah's roads safe

Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 19:34:28-05

MILLCREEK, Utah — Along the east bench in Millcreek are some of the toughest roads to plow in the Salt Lake Valley.

Nicknamed the North, Middle, and South Coves, the area around the mouth of Millcreek Canyon is a daring place for plows to go.

But those like Ryan Rivera are up to the challenge.

“It's just something that you got in the blood, you know, and you just can't stop — you've got to get it done,” Rivera said.

His route on Friday's cold and stormy morning was the “North Cove," which is the section on the north side of the entrance to Millcreek Canyon.

The roads up there can get steep, and beyond that, this morning was extra tough because of the lake effect snow.

Ryan had gone over the same streets four times by mid-morning, and still, there were areas of concern.

"That lake effect came in and really pounded us, and it doesn't even look like I plowed,” he said while going over one particularly snowy road. “But I had these roads black a couple hours ago.”

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Several motorists became stranded in the area with the steep hills, and Rivera even had a few dicey moments.

However, with a cool head, Rivera was able to expertly maneuver out of problem spots. He said sometimes, you have to go faster, adding: "If you don’t make it, you have to floor it” while laughing.

Kidding aside, he knows that taking things slow when they need to is important as well.

"Take it slow — that's the big thing," he advised Utah's winter drivers.

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In about half an hour that FOX 13 rode along with Rivera, he cleared dozens of streets and salted all of them along the route, making it much easier for those in the area to get on with their day.

He had been out in the area since about 2 a.m., along with other drivers hitting routes all throughout the area.

“I don't want to be goofy, but it's kind of just in my blood, honestly,” Rivera said. “It's helping people. I really like [to] help people out. Just seeing the smile on their faces... You're pretty happy and excited when we come by.”

He added a few safe winter driving tips for the public:

  1. Give plows plenty of space and don't try to pass them
  2. Park on the same side of the road. Plows are much larger than your average vehicle and can’t make it through some tight gaps
  3. Be patient and courteous to all drivers because they are just trying to make your day a little easier
  4. (Jokingly) But don’t be that guy who snow-blows everything back into the road!

Rivera says he is happy to provide such an important service to residents of the county.