April 19, 2014

MODOT, Electric Cooperatives prepare for winter storm

The Transportation Department is gearing up for the winter storm expected to start today in much of the state.

Randy Aulbur is the Maintenance Engineer for the Transportation Department’s Central District. He has been coordinating with counterparts elsewhere in the state as well as the Highway Patrol and emergency managers ahead of the storm that’s expected to bring sleet, snow and freezing rain to the state today.

He says crews are going to be pre-treating roads ahead of the storm where they can.

“Where it’s feasible to do that we’ll pre-treat the roadway. Then once we begin seeing precipitation take place we’ll attack that with our snow plows and our salt.”

The storm is expected to miss much of north Missouri, so Aulbur says MODOT road workers there could be called on to help further south.

Aulbur says his equipment operators can use the cooperation of Missouri drivers during the storm.

“Take their time out on the roads … especially this first storm for the year, you’re not used to driving on a different surface basically. We just want to encourage them to take some extra time, be cautious when they’re traveling,” Aulbur says. “If they don’t need to travel in slick conditions, that’s always encouraged.”

The National Weather Service says the threat for power outages has diminished but not completely. Missouri Association of Electric Cooperatives spokesman Jim McCarty says utility crews are standing by and some have even been staged.

“In advance of the storm we’ve staged some crews down in the Sikeston area where it looks like could be the hardest hit. We’ve also asked managers and systems in the northern part of Missouri to go home and not only prepare for the storm for themselves but identify who might be willing to go help out any system that needs assistance.”

Aulbur also encourages motorists to check the Department’s Traveler Information Map and smart phone app for road conditions before heading out.