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WATCH: Officials: Ice Melt Supply is Plenty to Last Until Spring

By Ellis Codjoe, January 18, 2018

Roads crews in Southeast Iowa have stayed busy this winter, treating and bladeing streets after every snow event.

Ottumwa Public Works Supervisor Steve Edgington says he’s sent crews out to plow Ottumwa’s roads seven times so far this winter.

“Mostly at night. Some holidays,” Edgington told Ottumwa Radio News. “We’ve been out with it was seventeen, eighteen below. The weather doesn’t keep us from doing our duty.”

Edginton says Ottumwa has enough ice melt to make it through the winter.

“We’re getting down. We started out about 1,300 tons,” He said. “We had some stacked outside because you can’t get that much in the salt shed. We’re doing okay. We’ve already ordered another 300 ton which we’ve gotten. We ordered another 200 tons this week. We can buy 1,200 tons, so we’re doing okay.”

Wapello County Engineer Brian Moore says the county had plenty of ice melt on hand as well.

“We’re not doing too bad. With the cold, we have had to use some more material but we’re doing fine on supplies,” Moore said. “In fact we’re getting some more in today just to make sure we can get through the winter fine.”

Edgington adds that there are several things average citizens can do to help the snow removal process, and save the city some money along the way.

“The main thing is to get the cars off the street. Even if there’s not a snow ordinance or you don’t live on a snow route, get the cars off the street. It takes time to go around cars, to go back and clean up where they’ve been,” Edgington said. “It’s just a lot quicker and more saving of public money if we can just get them off the street. If snow falls on a property, it stays on the property. Don’t put it on the street, don’t set it on somebody else’s property. The law says if it falls on your property you need to keep it.”

In the county, Moore worries about traffic traveling around his snow plows.

“Just pay attention to the drivers, don’t be passing them,” Moore adds. “Give them plenty of space to do their jobs. Just some common sense driving really helps.”

He adds that the county has one additional concern when it comes to snow and winter conditions: the spring thaw.

“As anybody who lives in the county knows, you’ll have the spring thaw,” Moore said. “There’s the time frame when the frost comes out of the ground that there isn’t a whole lot anyone can do until it warms up and the roads melt, get thawed out and start hardening back up. We do our best to get rock down as we can, but there is a time there when mother nature has to take care of things and warm things up.”

He says the unusually dry fall that Wapello County encountered should help conditions in the spring thaw.

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