Weather makes storm cleanup difficult

Published 7:53 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Days after the weekend snowstorm, crews are still working to clear roads of snow and ice — and more snow is likely on the way.

Spots of ice and compacted snow still cover Interstate 90 along with many rural and city roads after weekend’s storm. Cold and cloudy weather isn’t helping the cause.

According to County Engineer Mike Hanson, the salt-sand mixtures used to treat the roads aren’t effective when temperatures fall below 20 degrees — let alone the sub zero temperatures of the past few days.

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“Their chemicals do not work when it’s this cold,” Hanson said.

The storm dropped a little bit of everything on the roads. A mixture of early rain, heavy snow, blowing snow and bitterly cold temperatures has caused headaches for snowplow drivers in the storm’s aftermath.

Hanson said rain early in the storm froze on the roadways once the snow and colder temperatures came.

With the chemicals not getting the job done, Hanson said graters are being used to scrape the ice off roads. While crews are slowly making progress, storm is expected to bring more than three inches of snow on Wednesday.

“We’ll do the best we can to get the stuff scraped off,” Hanson said.

Hanson urged drivers to use caution, and he said his department would do its best to clear any drifting that may occur.

“People should slow down and adjust their travel time,” Hanson said.

Hanson said warmer temperatures and sunlight would go a long way in getting the roads cleaned off. That may take some time, as the temperature isn’t expected to surpass 20 degrees anytime this week, according to National Weather Service forecasts.