Eastern Iowa cities prepare for first snowfall of the season

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) -- Cities across eastern Iowa prepared for the first snowfall of the season on Thursday.

Public works employees take part in a snow and ice training session in Dubuque on Thursday, November 8. (Allison Wong, KCRG)

In Dubuque, the public works department hosted a training session in conjunction with the American Public Works Association.

Seven cities came together to learn about the latest in snow removal safety and technology.

"It just gets people in the right mind for winter," Dubuque's public works director John Klostermann said.

With snow expected Thursday night into Friday morning, that training couldn't have come sooner.

Klostermann said his employees prepared the streets on Wednesday with salt brine, an anti-icing measure.

“It’s very environmentally friendly," Klostermann said. "It gives us a jump on the storm.”

All of the public works vehicles had to be converted from their summer uses to winter.

"The guys have been pulling the plates out of the bottom, putting the spinners on, and putting the plows on," public works field supervisor Paul Davis said.

Klostermann added, "within hours we can have a lot of things ready.”

Crews in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City took similar measures.

Cedar Rapids city official Emily Breen said a few trucks were out on Thursday applying salt brine to bridges.

Iowa City streets superintendent Brock Holub said they did not apply brine, but have four trucks ready to respond if needed.

This winter, the Dubuque public works department will utilize a new salt storage facility.

This new facility cost $394,098 and will cover the salt so it's not wasted.

"It keeps the salt contained, keeps it from running into the storm water," Klostermann explained. "Financially it protects our investment. If it’s out in the open and uncovered it makes brine, and you lose your product.”

Dubuque's annual snow and ice removal budget is $1.5 million.