NEWS RELEASE: West Michigan road agencies develop 2020 COVID-19 storm response plan

For immediate release: December 8, 2020

Media Contact:
Alex Doty, Communications Administrator | 616-850-7221

While West Michigan road agencies continue to take steps to reduce COVID-19 exposure and prevent infection in the workplace, they are planning ahead with contingencies should any agency workforce be compromised by increased cases of COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique obstacles for resource sharing, including our equipment and crews,” Ottawa County Road Commission Managing Director Brett Laughlin said. “We had to take a closer look at how to help each other while following the safety procedures that have been outlined in various agencies’ COVID-19 response plans.”

Addressing how to respond to potential operational impacts related to the pandemic, a COVID-19 component was created to supplement the  ongoing mutual aid agreement that is shared among the region’s road agencies.

“This plan allows agencies to work collaboratively across jurisdictional boundaries while following COVID-19-related health and safety guidelines,” OCRC Operations Superintendent Ryan Kemppainen said. “Neighboring agencies would assist during storm response efforts to ensure that the region’s main transportation arteries — the highest volume, highest speed roads — are cleared first.”

Kemppainen noted that it is crucial to the the safety of our residents and our area emergency personnel that the highest volume roads throughout the region receive priority.

This means that there may be delay in lower volume, residential streets, and you could see another agency’s plow trucks on your street – or even a truck from your community assisting in another area.

“Should we need to enact the joint response plan, we will strive for a seamless deployment of resources that minimizes this type of delay,” Kemppainen said.