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February 25, 2013

ODOT crews to head north, rain turns to wet snow

DUNCAN —

Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews in Duncan were gearing up early today for incoming equipment and neighboring crews, as they prepared to head to northwest Oklahoma to assist in the blizzard.

Division Maintenance Engineer Brad Mirth said the 18-man crew would begin travel north later today to Clinton, moving two motor graders, two front end loaders, six dump trucks with plows and sanders.

ODOT Construction Engineer Jeff Hiller said they could move toward Woodward depending on how the blizzard hits that area.

Hiller expected those areas to be most impacted. They were coordinating efforts with nine other counties in their district.

Stephens County Commissioners said they also have crews on standby should the weather take a turn for the worse locally. As of 2:30 p.m. the rain began changing to wet snow in Duncan, but was still more rain than snow.

 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 earlier in the morning. “We are just waiting to see what the weather does. We have sand spreaders loaded and ready if we need them.”

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.

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.

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