Columbia Public Works plow drivers treating roads around the clock

Posted on 11 January 2019 at 3:45pm

COLUMBIA - Columbia plow drivers might not be able to get to neighborhood routes until Sunday morning, according to Columbia Public Works.

Barry Dalton, the public information officer for public works, said the current projection that plow drivers might not make it to neighborhoods until Sunday is because they need to clear priority routes first. 

"If you really have to get out and you live in an area that you feel is challenging, you may need to get snow chains or something like that on your vehicle to get to that priority route," Dalton said.

When it snows more than 4 inches, plow drivers will work 24/7 to clear priority routes before moving to neighborhood streets, Dalton said.

Priority routes include 470 lane miles of streets throughout the city, Dalton said. Most neighborhood streets are within a half mile of a priority route, he said.

"Those priority routes are necessary for fire trucks, for emergency responders, for ambulances to be able to connect to all of the major highways and commercial areas in the area," Dalton said. 

Crews started pretreating the roads at 7 a.m. Friday. They did not use much salt because of the rain.

Dalton reminded people that they cannot park on priority routes once the 2 inch rule goes into effect. People who fail to move their vehicles will be ticketed and towed at the owner's expense.

Meanwhile, the Columbia Police Department is asking people to stay home if they do not have to go out.

Common mistakes people make include driving too fast and then not having enough reaction time if people start to slide.

The department's community relations specialist, Jeff Pitts, said people should avoid accelerating when turning.

Additionally, people involved in a non-injury crash should exchange information, take pictures and file a claim later.

But if there are injuries, call 911, Pitts said.

People who must travel should leave plenty in advance, Pitts said.

"We want to make sure that you have enough time to get to where you're going," Pitts said.