The Duncan Banner

February 26, 2013

County road crews were ready to work

Megan Bristow
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN —  

As of Monday morning, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, and Duncan and Stephens County road crews were ready for any weather that could move into the area. Additionally, ODOT in Duncan was coordinating efforts with nine counties to bring in equipment and crews Monday afternoon to move to the northwest region to assist. Salting and sanding area roads were on their list of things to do if the conditions called for it. 
District 3 County Commissioner Dee Bowen said road crews and the commissioners were ready and prepared but waiting to see what the weather was doing later to make any decisions.
“It is a normal day for us right now,” Bowen said. “We are just waiting to see what the weather does. We have sand spreaders loaded and ready if we need them.”
ODOT Construction Engineer Jeff Hiller said the areas to the north and northwest would most likely be the most problematic areas but said drivers should keep a watch on any area with ice or snow.
Although the City of Duncan does not have any snow plows available, Public Works Director Scott Vaughn said they are as ready as they can be. Should the weather get bad, the city will be using their two sand trucks to help with road conditions.
“In the event that snow needs to be cleared, we will use road graders, back hoes and front end loaders,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn said the area does not get ice or snow frequently enough to warrant the purchase of snow plows. He warned that drivers should be especially careful on steep intersections such as the where U.S. Highway 81 road intersects with Elder Avenue and Pine and on bridges. If road crews are needed, their first priority will be clearing access to emergency personnel — police department, the fire stations and hospitals. Major intersections and bridges would be the next concern. 
“If the weather hits, people need to slow down and allow more time to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b,’” Vaughn said. “Be mindful and watchful of the conditions.” 
Bowen said there are no specific locations in the county that people should watch out for but said the intersections would be the worst. Should the weather get worse, the county road crews will be focusing on spreading sand primarily only on intersections.
“We just do not have the manpower to do the whole road,” Bowen said.
The commissioners said the worst conditions would come if the wind blows the snow onto the roads from neighboring wheat fields and from any snow drifts.
County Commissioner Lonnie Estes of District 2 warned that people need to watch out for these snow drifts.
Despite the chance of bad road conditions here, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is preparing to also assist other areas with weather-related road conditions.
“We are preparing some crews to go up and help in Clinton and depending on how the snow storm hits, up towards Woodward,” Hiller said.
Hiller expected those areas to get the worst of the storm.