MoDOT crews prepare for slick and icy roads this weekend
COLUMBIA – Across Mid-Missouri, MoDOT crews are making final preparations to ensure they are ready to take on this weekend’s winter weather.
Ahead of the expected snowfall on Friday night, MoDOT crews in Columbia spent Thursday afternoon checking their equipment and trucks.
“We have had crews on day and night in anticipation for this next snow that is coming,” MoDOT maintenance supervisor Richard Skelton said.
In Boone County, MoDOT will have 25 trucks working throughout the weekend to keep the roads clear. Starting Friday night, crews will be working 12-hour shifts.
When it comes to pre-treating the roads ahead of this snow, it’s a little tricky. Since we are expecting rain before the snowfall, crews can’t start salting until after the rain ends.
“As see the precipitation change, we’ll start letting the crews know they need to start giving the roads what we call a shot of mixed material or salt,” Skelton said. “Depending on how much rain falls before the snow turns to snow, we may have to put a little extra down because it may start to ice up a little bit before it changes to snow.”
Another difference from last weekend’s storm: the wind. Skelton said high winds could cause the roads to ice over quicker.
“Wind will cause problems once we get the snow to melt,” Skelton said. “Once the temperatures and the salt run out in the water down, it’ll start to turn into ice on the road.”
On Saturday, temperatures are expected to plummet. Skelton said that the low temperature could lead to more ice on the roads this time around.
Along with the high winds and low temperatures, the snow is expected to be drier and less dense. As a result, Skelton said he expects the snow to blow around, making it tougher to clear the roads.
“Whenever the plow truck treats the road, the snow that blows across the road will melt and then it will freeze back over,” Skelton said. “You’ve just got to stay with it and keep it beat down and keep treating the route.”
Skelton said crews would focus on getting the major roads such as I-70, Highway 63, Providence Road, and Stadium Boulevard before moving to other minor ones.
As the snow moves toward Mid-Missouri, Skelton said the best advice he has it not to leave your house this weekend.
“With the weather looking like it is going to hit us, go ahead and stay at home if you can,” Skelton said. “If they do get into an accident or an incident, it could take some time for someone to get there and give them a hand.”
When there are fewer cars out on the road, Skelton said it is easier for MoDOT crews to get the road clear.
“It allows our operators to concentrate more on clearing the roads and getting the roads treated,” Skelton said.
If you do head out on the roads this weekend, MoDOT suggests you should drive slowly and pay careful attention to where you are driving.
Skelton said MoDOT is hoping to have the roads cleared by Monday morning.