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Utility, Road Crews Make Overnight Plans

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - High winds continue to hamper efforts to rec-connect Eastern Iowans to their highway and utility networks.

Utility crews will work through the night restoring power to some 12,500 Alliant Energy customers, but it may be mid-day Friday before all are reconnected, company sp0kesman Ryan Stensland said.

"We're making some progress," Stensland reported late this afternoon, although high winds continued to hamper repairs.

"We've been putting up some lines and they come back down," he said. "We hook everything up and it still doesn't work, and we realize a half-mile down the road there's another issue."

Darkness will force Linn County plows off the roads at 4 p.m., County Engineer Steve Gannon said.

"Once it gets dark it's hard for them to stay out on our system," Gannon said.

Plows will be back out at 4 a.m. It should take three to four hours to clear major paved roads once plows head back out, but "it depends on what the wind's going to do," Gannon said.

In Iowa City, "it's been difficult to stay ahead of the snow and blowing snow," said John Sobaski, the city's assistant street superintendent. "We'll go down a street and a little later it's all snowed in again."

Sobaski said the city's 12 plow trucks will work until midnight.

"We'll drop back to a smaller crew, then go full force again at 5 a.m.," he said.

Iowa City's snowfall wasn't enough to trigger the city's snow emergency rules, Sobaski said.

Gannon said Linn County crews were making headway until winds picked up around mid-morning.

"Essentially everything you do is going to get undone by weather," he said.