Public works prep for potential second ice storm

Public works prep for potential second i

BOONE COUNTY, Mo. - Public works crews are preparing to the potential of a second ice storm in seven days. 

Boone County Public Works is planning on having a full staff Friday. Greg Edington with BCPW said they'll have staff monitoring roads overnight. 

"We do have resources, internet-based, that tracks weather and has hourly updates," Edington said. 

Edington also said there can be extreme variations between the north and south parts of the county. 

"Some of our supervisors live up north, and they'll check," Edington said. "We have some in the south and some in the central. So they kind of keep an eye on things for us." 

Boone County public works treats all 340 miles of their hard surface roads first before moving onto the gravel roads. After that, crews work gravel roads using graders. Graders operate during daylight hours only for safety reasons. According to BCPW, it takes about three full 12-hour shifts to make a pass over all gravel roads. 

The Missouri Department of Transportation will also monitor the roads overnight. District Maintenance Engineer Randy Aulbur said they have a pretty good idea of where the problem areas start. 

"For us, monitoring means bringing staff in that is actually going out in the field and checking routes throughout the night," Aulbur said. 

A primary focus will be on bridges and keeping them clear. 

"Really, that's where the beginning accumulations start," Aulbur said. "We've been in that operation throughout this week, and we'll expand further, actually putting treatment down on the road surface, as well to try and combat anything that we could have in the morning."

Just like commuters, road crews also have to deal with traffic issues while working on the roads. Edington and Aulbur said the key is to stay ahead of the storm and to try and treat before the roads get swelled with traffic. 

"You know at some point, traffic volumes get heavy enough, and traffic backups occur anyway, and we're kind of at the same situation as everyone else," Aulbur said. 

"Any added traffic is a hindrance to getting the roads treated," Edington said. "But it's just something you have to deal with. Last Friday was not a fun time out on any road."

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