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‘Keep your eyes open’ during winter storms, warns plow driver

Posted at 12:20 AM, Jan 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-13 00:20:05-05

ASHLAND, Va. -- You could consider Nick Lopez and his employees as unsung heroes during and after winter storms.

Lopez is owner of Virginia Snow and Ice Management Inc. based out of Fredericksburg.

"It’s definitely a difficult task to get things moving around and make sure the general public is safe," Lopez explained.

Lopez and his crew of 45 men pre-treat and plow dozens of parking lots at strip malls and fitness centers across the Commonwealth.

"We have about 82 properties in our contract portfolio servicing Northern Virginia to Richmond as well as to Virginia Beach down to Roanoke," he stated.

CBS 6 caught up with Lopez and several of his sub-contractors loading salt into a spreader truck behind a strip mall in Ashland on Saturday.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency as a winter storm bears down across the state.

Lopez said one of the hardest parts of his job was looking out for the safety of the general public while clearing parking lots for businesses and their customers.

Nick Lopez

Nick Lopez

"Constantly we have people walking behind our trucks as we are trying to spread salt. Unfortunately, people don’t notice us until they look from their cell phones and the salt starts to hit them," he recalled.

He echoed the warning from state officials to avoid unnecessary travel so crews can treat and plow roads.

"Keep your eyes open and be aware of where you are," Lopez advised. "Our priority is keeping the general public safe as well as our employees and our subcontractors."

Lopez also operates a landscaping business from the spring to fall.

This winter storm will be very complex, including areas of sleet, freezing rain and plain rain at times for different parts of the CBS 6 viewing area, according to CBS 6 meteorologists.