UPDATED 11:15 p.m.
CHAMPAIGN — Area snow plow drivers were scheduled to work throughout the night to keep streets and roads clear of snow, with additional crews available to take over on Friday if necessary.
Kris Koester, administrative services supervisor for Champaign public works, said a team of 14 trucks began plowing city streets at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, with another two trucks dedicated to plowing city parking lots.
A second shift of snow plow drivers were scheduled to take over for them beginning at 11:15 p.m. Thursday.
“Our plan is to have them continuing to plow through midday, with the goal of providing for the safety and well being of the city’s citizens and visitors,” Koester said. “We’ll monitor the weather, and if we have to extend plowing longer, we’ll do that.”
Koester announced late Thursday the department has decided to keep snow plow crews working around the clock through 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Koester said motorists are asked to take precautions when driving, including leaving early, allowing extra time to reach their destination, staying off the streets whenever possible, and being cautious around snowplows.
“In the event of two or more inches of accumulation, the public works director has the authority to activate the emergency snow routes and the sidewalk snow removal ordinance,” Koester said.
Urbana Public Works Operations Manager John Collins said his team finished salting operations late Thursday afternoon, and six trucks began plowing snow at 6:30 p.m.
“At midnight, we’ll have 10 to 12 trucks on the road plowing snow,” Collins said.
Tracy Wingler, maintenance supervisor for the Champaign County Highway Department, said eight drivers began plowing in rural areas at 3 p.m., with a second crew relieving them at 7 p.m.
“They’ll continue to plow until 7 a.m. Friday, at which time we’ll have another crew relieve them,” Wingler said. “The rural roads are pretty snow covered, but we got many of the county roads pre-salted before the storm arrived.”
Rantoul Public Works Director Greg Hazel said four drivers began salting streets at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and planned on keeping village streets clear of snow throughout the night.
“We have additional staff arriving at 2 a.m. to take over snow plowing until the storm is over,” Hazel said.