A city snowplow, working to keep the roads safe in freezing rain, fell victim to ice itself early Monday, sliding down Hillside Avenue, hitting a power pole and overturning, authorities said.
The driver was unhurt in the accident, officials said.
The incident happened around 1 a.m., as city plow trucks were out salting the roads amid freezing rain.
The driver moved to treat Hillside Avenue as air temperatures dipped rapidly to below freezing, city Commissioner of General Services Carl Olsen said.
“It wasn’t just that road, but every hill and grade in the city of Schenectady very quickly became very slippery,” he said.
As the truck started to slide, the driver dropped his plow to try to slow the truck, but could do little, Olsen said. The truck hit a power pole and then flipped onto its side.
The driver was taken to Ellis Hospital for observation but was unhurt, Olsen said. His name was not released. Drug and alcohol tests were performed, but there was no indication that the mishap was anything other than an accident caused by a road that quickly iced up, he said.
The driver has worked for Schenectady for a couple of years and drove plows elsewhere previously, Olsen said.
The truck was one of five 10-wheel plow rigs owned by the city, he said. The truck’s cab was damaged, as well as a tank, he said. Overall damage to the truck was estimated at between $5,000 and $6,000.
Repairs are expected to be done in-house, and the truck is expected to be back on the road within a few days, Olsen said. The exact date of repairs is dependent on the availability of parts.
Trucks hit the road about midnight, in anticipation of the freezing rain, Olsen said. When they set out, the temperature were about 40. By 1 a.m., the temperatures had dropped to about 30, he said.
Soon after the accident, the temperatures rebounded back to around 40, he said.
The power pole knocked out by the truck cut electricity to about 2,300 customers, but only briefly, a National Grid spokesman said. Power was re-routed from elsewhere, and restored within about a minute.