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Road Crews Playing Catch Up Ahead of Next Storm

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Ozarks could be getting ready for another punch from mother nature today. Road crews are trying to chip away at what was left behind from this weekend’s storm.
If we would’ve got it to start melting then you would have a wet surface, and what are you going to do with a wet surface? Its going to dry back and make it ice so you actually compound the issue if we would have gotten aggressive in trying to do those things.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Ozarks could be getting ready for another punch from mother nature today. Road crews are trying to chip away at what was left behind from this weekend’s storm.

MODOT says the few hours in between sub zero temperatures rising and the winter storm coming later on Wednesday are crucial. They say without those 24 hours, they would not have a shot at catching up on clearing our busy streets.

Michael Middleton from the Missouri Department of Transportation says his crews are working around the clock to clear more than 14,000 miles of lanes in the southwest part of the state, but mother nature is causing a few roadblocks.

"If we would’ve got it to start melting then you would have a wet surface, and what are you going to do with a wet surface? Its going to dry back and make it ice so you actually compound the issue if we would have gotten aggressive in trying to do those things," says Middleton.

Earlier this week, MODOT and the city of Springfield called off plowing the roads because of the arctic blast sweeping through the Ozarks. Drifting snow and negative temperatures made the conditions unsafe for plow drivers and others on the roads.

"We tried to push as much as we could but our chemicals we use, our salt chemicals, really are not effective at those single digits like that."

He says crews worked on Springfield intersections throughout the night to break up the snow and create slush.

He says the beet juice and salt can not work when temperatures drop below zero.

"You can apply them but basically all they are going to do is give you some traction and at $60 a ton; that is pretty expensive material for traction," says Middleton.

KOLR 10’s Brett Martin asked him what states in the far north like North Dakota and Minnesota use on their roads.

"They have totally different kinds of equipment, their trucks are much bigger, they have a lot more snow blowers so they blow that stuff off. If you see, a lot of times, they'll keep a layer of snow actually on the roadway. They’ll do that on purpose and not take it to the pavement."

Michael says even though the sub zero temperatures keep their plows off the roads, it does have its advantages.

"A lot of the pavement was very thin, as far as a little bit of ice here and there, so some areas were cold enough that even that broke up when traffic went over it."

He says without a doubt, he's crews are putting in hours, but now they need mother nature to cooperate too.

MODOT plans to clear as much off the primary roads today. Middleton says they have used 18,000 tons of their season reserves of chemicals, leaving just 30% left for the next two months.

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