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North Country

The Road Agent

Sean Hurley
John Kubik, the Road Agent for Thornton

In the summer, the Road Agent in a small New Hampshire town will handle everything from ditches to tree-work to regrading.  But in the winter, there's pretty much one job.  Keeping the roads clear of snow and ice.  As this winter storm bears down, NHPR's Sean Hurley caught up with the local Road Agent in his hometown of Thornton to see how the town plows will handle the fresh snow.

John Kubik, Road Agent for the Town of Thornton, glances down at the inch of snow gathering around his boots.

It hasn't snowed too hard yet, it's just starting to build up, but we'll be out probably before the afternoon commute, people coming home from work. The hardest part for me sometimes is just making the call when. It's not a black and white deal.

If the snow is simple and not icy, Kubik will wait until 2 inches falls before sending his trucks out.  He has 4 dedicated plowers and 4 on-call contractors.   This storm, Kubik says, looks like an 8 man job.

If we start getting significant snowfall where we can't keep it within our two inch limit, we'll most likely be out all night.

And that, Kubik says is the hardest part of the job .

I guess something that can get difficult on storms where it's wacky is our sleep schedule. If it's an all-nighter it gets to us after a while.

Kubik checks the snow around his boots again.  The snow is falling harder, the storm is turning wacky.  

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