Crews clearing roads of snow

Crews clearing roads of snow

The bad news: We got more snow than was forecast.

The good news: It's relatively warm and there wasn't much wind, except for the northern part of Champaign County.

Public works crews were out in force throughout the area Saturday, focusing first on clearing primary roads.

They expect to be working well into Sunday.

"We got a little more snow than we expected," said John Collins, operations manager for Urbana's public works department.

But because temperatures have stayed relatively warm and there's been little wind, "We're not in too bad shape," he said.

Roads outside Champaign-Urbana were mostly in good shape, said Tracy Wingler, maintenance supervisor with Champaign County's highway department.

But by late afternoon, winds were picking up, causing some drifting, in the northern part of the county, around Rantoul, Thomasboro, Gifford and Flatville, Wingler said.

"If it keeps it up, we're going to have to have a crew out tonight to keep up with that," he said.

Kris Koester, administrative services supervisor for Champaign's public works department, said the city's weather service reported 8 inches of snow had fallen by about noon.

"Right now, they're telling us we could get up to 10," he said.

"This is a heavy, wet snow," Koester added. "We're not having to use as much chemicals; we're able to use salt."

In Champaign, the practice is to get all primary routes cleared within 12 hours after the snow stops. A third 12-hour shift started Saturday morning, with two more planned, for Saturday night and Sunday. The intent, Koester said in a release, is to have plowed all primary and secondary streets, dead ends, and cul-de-sacs by 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

Champaign will probably activate emergency snow routes and sidewalk-clearing rules on Sunday morning, Koester said. Once they've been activated, those on snow routes will have six hours to move their vehicles to avoid being towed. Sidewalks must be cleared within 48 hours of the rules being activated.

Urbana will probably activate its sidewalk rules on Monday, Collins said.

In Vermilion County, "road conditions are not real good for traveling," but they should improve because the snow had begun to taper off by early afternoon, said Ted Fisher, director of the county's emergency management agency.

He said the county snowfall has ranged from 5 to 10 inches.

Vermilion County also had little wind, so drifting was not a serious problem so far, Fisher said.

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