Rural county road crews trying to keep up with heavy snow, ice-covered roads

IOWA COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - Road crews in Iowa County have worked a long winter, with some staff members saying they have not gotten more than three days off this season.

After a heavy snow Monday night into Tuesday, roadways in more rural areas are proving to be more difficult to navigate- and some say it is something they never get used to, but they have just learned to live with it.

In the Amana Colonies and across Iowa County, there are a handful of places with signs marking they are "closed for the winter." The roads in the area, however, do not have the same schedule flexibility; they have to stay open. Road crews are therefore assigned the tall task of making those roads safe to navigate, but even that can prove to be a difficult task.

"There's cars going in the ditch all the time," said Nick Amelon, an Iowa County Engineer in charge of creating a game plan for those highway cleanup crews.

"We've seen the snow before, but not the drifting like this in a while," Amelon said.

Amelon, along with the Iowa County Highway Department, does their best to prepare for the weather, but often times they are forced to react to what the weather brings.

"On the gravel roads, we’re just trying to get one round in- cover every road so that everybody can get out," Amelon said. "And then on the paved roads, we’re pretty much going back and forth trying to keep the drifts at bay."

For some out on the roadways, they admit the roads can sometime catch drivers by surprise.

"I was coming off the interstate tonight, and I went where the roundabout's there on [Interstate 380], and I wasn’t paying attention and it was completely iced over and we slid across," said David Lacina, a lifelong Iowa County resident.

In the more rural areas, it takes a lot of time, and a lot of man-power to clean everything up.

"They've worked almost every day," Amelon said of the crews along the road. "Just a couple weekend days off. But most of the weekends they have been working."

Amelon said the road conditions are most challenging on days like Wednesday, when the snow drifts onto the roads and covers the ice. He said crews are planning to hit the roads once more Wednesday morning at 4 a.m.