Quincy News

Quincy's Central Services battle weekend 'complicated storm' that featured rain, sleet and snow

Ben Askew, a custodian at the Kroc Center in Quincy, spreads salt on the sidewalk outside of the fitness center on Saturday, Jan. 11. A large storm system moved through the area on Friday and Saturday bringing with it a mixture of heavy rain, sleet, and snow. The combination of wintry weather made traveling on untreated roadways treacherous, but city officials said they had been working since 5 a.m. to treat the roads. | H-W Photo/Ethan Colbert
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 12, 2020 12:01 am

QUINCY -- The first snowstorm of the year to hit the city was a complicated one, according to Quincy's Director of Central Services Kevin McClean.

"This storm was a little bit harder to handle to be honest," McClean said. "If we got out too soon, then you are wasting your product. If you get out too late then you are behind. It is really all about timing."

The storm, which started with heavy rains on Friday evening ended Saturday evening after dropping a significant snowfall on the region. The combination of snow and ice was responsible for at least one road closure as Route H in rural western Ralls County was closed at 2:55 p.m. Saturday due to the winter weather. The road was closed as of press time per the Missouri Department of Transportation's Traveler Map.

According to MoDOT, roads throughout Northeast Missouri remained snow covered on Saturday evening.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Eric Brown, who works with Troop B in Macon, said Troop B had received 72 calls for service during the storm, including 29 calls from stranded motorists and 27 calls from motorists involved with crashes. Four of those crashes resulted in injuries, according to Brown.

Brown said those numbers could have been higher, but the forecasted snow and ice accumulations did not materialize in Northeast Missouri. Another contributing factor, Brown said, was that Saturday is one of the least busiest days for Missouri's road.

Meanwhile, across the river, the Illinois State Police responded to a crash near Hull that had the westbound lanes of Interstate 72 closed for more than three hours on Saturday. The driver of the semitruck in that crash lost control of his vehicle when crossing an ice-covered bridge.

Road conditions were better in Quincy, where McClean said the city's response to the storm began about 5 a.m. in hopes of preventing any ice from forming on the road. The crews were placing salt on the roads, but McClean said they also had a liquid calcium chloride mixture that could be used.

"We were worried that the rain would wash the product away, but fortunately it seems like most of it was able to be effective," McClean said.

The city's Central Services Department used two crews of 12 employees per crew to combat the winter weather with the second crew beginning its work about 7 p.m. Saturday. An additional crew focused on alleyways, the airport and the city-owned parking lots.

"Right now, the roads are in pretty good shape," McClean said in an interview at 9:45 p.m. Saturday. "Everything is looking good right now."

Brown agreed, saying that roads in Northeast Missouri had significantly improved since the snowfall began to slow.

Both men said drivers on Sunday should use caution as they head to church or other activities.

"Don't be fooled, even if a street looks clear or that it has some water on it, that may be ice," McClean said. "So take your time and give yourself plenty of distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you."

He said city snow plows have a sign on the back of the vehicle asking motorists to stay back 100 feet.

Brown said he would remind motorists to wear their seat belts every time they are in a vehicle, but especially during winter weather or in the aftermath of a snowstorm.

"Seat belts definitely make a difference in terms of saving lives during a crash," Brown said. He added that because of the risk of refreezing on roads that everyone should check road conditions before leaving their homes on Sunday.

To check road conditions in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation will be posting updates to its website, gettingaroundillinois.com, and on social media.

To check road conditions and possible closings due to inclement weather in Missouri, motorists are encouraged to go to MoDOT's Traveler Information map at traveler.modot.org/map. MoDOT also provides road condition information through its Customer Service Center at 1-888-275-6636.