Road Crews Standing By for the Snow Storm

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

City of Cedar Rapids snow plows head down 8th Ave SE in Cedar Rapids on Friday, January 19, 2011. (Cliff Jette/SourceMedia Group)

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By Rachel Begle

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The battle against Mother Nature is starting well ahead of the snow storm.

"You never know what will come," said Public Works Maintenance Manager Craig Hanson. "We will work whatever the storm brings."

Workers spent the overnight hours on Tuesday spreading brine or liquid de-icer on city streets. The crew started spraying the roads at 11:00 Tuesday night and wrapped up at about 6:00 Wednesday morning. Public Works officials said it was the city’s first line of defense against the storm.

They sprayed bridges and hills, where drivers will see the most frost and the least amount of traction. The salt/water mix aims to stop ice from forming and preventing that ice from binding to the road.

Cedar Rapids also produces brine that other road crews depend on for providing safety to their residents.

"We provide it also for the county, and this year we will be providing it for Hiawatha," Hanson said. "Also, by the capability that we brought in our brine machine, it can produce more than what we need. With the state, as they expand their use of brine on their roads, they are no longer capable of providing it for some cities."

Hanson said his team is well-prepared and has been for some time.

"We've already put out over 13,000 feet of snow fence around various places where we see drifting. We did that in the fall. We've gone through other things with training crews with having special training with them on what the precautions are to snow plowing,” Hanson said.

Hanson said he’ll be sending out the city’s snow plow force of nearly 100 plows as soon as the snow starts falling, and they’ll stay out until the storm is over.

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