Clearing drifted snow from roads in eastern Iowa

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Snow plows across eastern Iowa are out Wednesday trying to remove snow after the winds drifted it onto roads.

The City of Cedar Rapids Tweeted this picture on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. It shows abandoned vehicles on 18th Street SW stuck in drifted snow following a snow storm the day before. (Courtesy: City of Cedar Rapids)

A multiple-vehicle accident, that happened early Wednesday morning on 18th Street SW in Cedar Rapids, was frozen in place. It was proof snow drifts caused by high winds made traveling on rural roads in eastern Iowa a treacherous feat for anyone who dared to venture out on them.

"We were dealing with 45 mile per hour winds when you get out towards the airports," said Cedar Rapids Street Operations Manager Michael Duffy.

Duffy knows all to well the challenges snow drifts made clearing the roads on this day.

"We couldn't get equipment through the streets so then those streets remained unplowed," said Duffy.

It was why Duffy says his agency was back out on the roads again in order to respond to the drifting snow with the help of dozens of drivers continuously plowing.

"We did have three shifts running," said Duffy.

Progress was also being made in Jones County but county engineer Derek Snead believes it will still take another day to carve out adequate routes for motorists.

"It's just a bad situation," said Snead.

Snead says he and his 26 plow drivers are experienced at dealing with Iowa winter weather and the unique issues drifting can cause on their gravel roads. Nevertheless, he insists recent weather conditions are different.

"Since 2012 we haven't had a stretch, a solid stretch, like this," said Snead.

Snead's plan for Thursday is to bring in crews again early.

On Wednesday morning the Iowa Department of Transportation called Highway 218 through most of Benton County as impassable due to drifting snow.

Officials with Benton County tell TV9 their priorities include opening up gravel roads. They too plan to have crews back out on the roads plowing again on Thursday.