UPDATED 2:30 p.m. Friday
The city of Urbana has mandated that public sidewalks need to be cleared by 2 p.m. Saturday.
Public Works Director Bill Gray implemented the city's snow and ice removal requirement for the Downtwon, University and South Philo Road areas as of 2 p.m. Friday since more than 2 inches of snow had fallen. Here are the city's guidelines .
Champaign enacted its snow removal ordinance effective at noon Friday, but because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, enforcement won't begin until Tuesday.
The city said the rules, which require sidewalks to be cleared in downtown Champaign and on campus, will take effect at noon. Rules are available at the city's website here . Normally, the rules require the shoveling to be completed in 48 hours, which would be at noon on Sunday. But the enforcement won't begin until Tuesday, the city noted.
Under the rules in both cities, the city can clear sidewalks in the affected area and charge the property owner for doing so.
Area public-works departments planned to continue plowing snow on area streets and highways Friday after snowfall in East Central Illinois made area interstates and roads slick and kept emergency responders busy.
Roads throughout the state had snowy patches. In Champaign County, Highway Superintendent Tracy Wingler said rural roads are passable with scattered slick spots. Some Champaign-Urbana streets are cleared while others are snow-packed and slick.
Drifting snow from the storm was reported on many north-south streets and highways on Thursday evening.
Illinois State Police and paramedics from area ambulance services reported responding to about 100 calls between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, including jackknifed semis and cars in ditches and medians. Of those, 17 involved injuries; 44 were property damage only.
Champaign police reported handling 17 accidents between 7:40 a.m. and 7 p.m., only one with injuries, which Lt. Dave Shaffer described as minor.
Urbana police reported handling four accidents during that same time period, with none of them reportedly involving injuries.
Champaign County sheriff's deputies handled four calls during the morning commute but helped state troopers with several others.
Blowing snow was adding to the problems by reducing visibility and troopers were urging motorists to stay off the interstates if possible, especially since the forecast calls for increased blowing and drifting.
Champaign snow plows began pre-treating streets around 3 a.m. Thursday and will continue plowing around the clock until the storm ends. Champaign officials report primary routes have been cleared and secondary routes, cul-de-sacs and dead ends should be clear by 7 a.m. Saturday.
Stacy Rachel, administrative services supervisor for Champaign public works, said crews worked around the clock. Drifting snow was a problem in Champaign, especially on perimeter roads, she said.
City officials are asking residents to remove cars from city streets so as to not interfere with plows. They also ask that drivers be careful and maintain distance from the plows.
John Collins, operations manager for Urbana public works, said his crew began salting city streets at 4 a.m. Thursday. He reported minor snow drifting on the outskirts of the city on Thursday night.
One crew of 10 people was expected to plow snow until midnight. A second crew of 10 people was scheduled to begin a shift at midnight and work until 4 p.m. Friday, Collins said.
Tracy Wingler, maintenance supervisor for the Champaign County Highway Department, said north-south rural roads were receiving more drifting snow than the east-west roads.
Wingler said he had one crew of eight truck drivers plowing snow from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. today, with a second crew planning on taking over snow plow duties for a 12-hour shift starting at 7 a.m. today.
Wingler said the combination of low temperatures and high winds prevented his crew from treating any rural roads with salt on Thursday night.
If the winds begin to die down, Wingler said, the county may begin salting rural roads this morning.
Rantoul Public Works Director Greg Hazel said a crew of four men plowed snow in the village Thursday afternoon.
"We had some minor drifting, primarily on the perimeter of the community," Hazel said.
After taking a break Thursday night, Hazel said, the Rantoul plow crew planned to resume working after midnight.
Capt. Dennis Wood with the Vermilion County Sheriff's Department said deputies dealt with accidents at intersections and on rural roads starting at about 8:30 Thursday morning, but said the activity was what the department normally sees when a storm like this moves in.
He said the department has extra patrols out on county roads. Wood said deputies have helped state police with several accidents on I-74, and they've handled several others on county roads and the main highways leading into Danville. He said some accidents have resulted in minor injuries requiring an ambulance, but as of early afternoon, he was not aware of any serious injuries.
Danville Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said intersections have been slick, and drivers need to become familiar again with driving in such conditions. He encouraged drivers to slow down, especially as they approach intersections or are turning onto side streets, and to allow plenty of space between vehicles as they drive.
Wood said crews are out clearing roads, but they expect some drifting on rural roads. He encouraged people not to travel if they don't have to. If they must, he said, drivers should have a full tank of gas, a blanket, a cell phone and even a couple candy bars and bottle of water and take well-traveled routes. Those who get stranded should turn on their flashers and stay with the vehicle.