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Public Works crew scheduled to report Wednesday at 7 p.m., Feb. 21

A Public Works crew is scheduled to report at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 21, and begin focusing on Designated Snow Routes in anticipation of a forecast of wintery mix and freezing rain beginning later this evening.

According to the Winter Weather Advisory issued by the National Weather Service in St. Louis, this event could “result in difficult travel conditions including during the morning commute on Thursday.”

There is strong potential for more widespread slickness than Tuesday as this could be a continuous active winter weather event.

“The precipitation likely won’t end until Thursday morning during the day, so we aren’t likely to be as lucky with the wind drying effect that occurred in the early morning hours this morning,” Columbia Public Works Engineering Manager Richard Stone said.

Freezing rain/wintry mix is expected to start sometime after 8 p.m. Wednesday and could lead to immediate slick conditions on many surfaces due to pavement temperatures being below freezing.

“Continuous washing will mean that we will need to focus on additional treatment of priority routes,” Stone said.

Pavement temperatures will likely be above freezing after 8 a.m. Thursday morning but roads could be slippery early in the morning. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to their local forecasts and road conditions and above all drive slowly. If roads are icy, delaying your travel is advisable.

Feb. 21, 3 p.m.: There is a 50 to 80 percent chance of Wintry Mix changing to Freezing Rain tonight in Columbia, and a 30/20 percent chance of Rain/Freezing rain tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service. Please drive according to road conditions. Starting any travel or commute earlier than usual might be something to consider so that you can drive slowly and prudently. (Delay your travel if there is ice on the road.)

Feb. 21, 7 a.m.: Street Division crew is in place focusing on first and second priority routes. Spotty slick conditions persist on priority routes and other streets, but most locations are ok/drying/dried. Continue driving with caution.

Feb. 20, 4 p.m.: A winter weather advisory is in effect. Please drive with extreme caution during this evening’s commute and tomorrow morning’s commuted. An 18-person crew is scheduled to report at 11 pm this evening.

Snowplow drivers group shotsnowplow driver Gerod Crum

Winter Weather Policies and Procedures

Columbia has more than 1,300 lane miles of streets and 1,100 cul-de-sacs maintained by Public Works. The sheer volume of cul-de-sacs and lane miles makes it necessary to prioritize roads during ice and snow events.                                     

Over one-third of Columbia’s roads, almost 500 lane miles, are priority routes that create a network of major roads and residential streets that extend throughout the City towards as many neighborhoods as possible. They include such residential streets as Battle Avenue, Worley Street, Thornbrook Terrace and more. Their primary purpose is to ensure safe passageways to and from major highways, hospitals, schools, fire stations and commercial areas.

When a snowfall is less than 4 inches, crews focus on priority routes during normal business hours and will go into other residential areas if time and priority street conditions permit. If the snow exceeds 4 inches, crews will work around the clock to treat and plow every street in the City, beginning with priority routes, until they are deemed passable by snow inspectors. Although a street may still be snow packed, if at least one lane is accessible for a front-wheel-drive vehicle at a slow speed, the road is considered passable.

There is no parking allowed on priority routes when snow accumulates 2 inches or more. Parking Utility staff do their best to warn drivers, but vehicles will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense if they are not moved. To be reminded of when it’s time to move cars off of priority routes, sign up for alerts at Nixle.com or by texting the phrase COLUMBIAPW to 888777.

 untitled-9Columbia Public Works Address