Winter Warm Up: Road Crews Work to Prevent Flooded Streets

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

MARION, Iowa – A much-anticipated warm up brought smiles to many faces, but it also brought on a lot of melting. Sunshine and temperatures in the 40s melted a lot of the snow on the ground, but that made for a mess on city streets. With temperatures expected to drop below freezing overnight, all the melting can lead to icy problems. In Cedar Rapids, the Public Works manager approved overtime for crews to have extra time to work on clearing the storm drains and keeping the water from pooling up on the streets. Crews in Marion were equally as busy with digging out the storm drains. "Our crews have been pretty aggressive on getting those cleared. We are staying on top of it to this point, but throughout the next couple of days we will continuing to get those cleared," said City of Marion Public Services Director Ryan Miller. Marion city crews pulled out the big equipment to keep the water flowing, scooping away snow and chipping away ice. Many people called the Public Services Department as water started filling residential roads. Workers consulted maps to figure out where to dig in the snow banks to relieve the blockages. "You got a lot of people calling in on our radios and calling our office, so they kind of redirect us that way, if there's one that needs to be taken care of," said Marion Equipment Operator Matt Tielebein. "You can see it's really melting through here," said Tom St. John. St. John approached the equipment operator to ask him to clear the drain at the edge of his Marion property. "I marked where my storm sewer was on my property, so he could come out and use his bucket to clean it out," St. John said. Despite the melting mess, St. John welcomes the warm up in his t-shirt as he chipped away at the ice at the end of his driveway. "Get over the winter bo-hum from being locked inside all the time with so much snow," St. John said. Road crews also welcomed the nicer temperatures, but they hope in coming weeks Mother Nature cooperates. "It's been a long year, long winter. We are looking forward to the warm weather. At the same time we hope it comes in moderation, so we don't have to experience any flash flooding," Miller said. Crews are also battling potholes. They're already showing up left and right. Street crews said they were getting to those as much as they could, but it has been a struggle with the amount of snow fall in recent week and Tuesday's melting.
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