Towing company employees in Iowa have been working overtime since last week’s blizzard that brought more than a foot of snow to half of the state and winds around 50 miles per hour.
Julie Hanifen runs a towing operation in Des Moines that specializes in lifting overturned semis. She can’t remember a busier time in her 27 years in the business.
“This is definitely one of the top five storms…probably top three,” Hanifen said. She estimates her company has removed 325 semis from ditches around the state in the last week. Hanifen has 20 employees, eight heavy duty wreckers and an 85-ton rotator with a crane.
“The boom swivles 360 degrees, so we can move the boom in front of the truck or to the side of the truck and it will reach out 43 feet,” Hanifen said. The boom is capable of picking up a semi tractor. Hanifen says some jobs are easier than others, but they’re always able to clean up the mess.
“We have never left (a semi) that we’ve been called out on,” Hanifen said. “We’ve maybe left it for a couple hours and come back to it when we have more time, but no, we’ve never not retrieved one.” In most cases, the semi trailer needs unloaded before it can be moved. Over the weekend, a crew retrieved a rig that tipped over north of Ankeny off of Interstate 35. The semi trailer was loaded with 40,000 pounds of cheese.