(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Rounds of freezing rain are possible Tuesday and Wednesday and officials at the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Northwest District say they are ready to treat the roads.
"We'll go out and monitor roads as the material is coming down from the sky, we just check for slick conditions and then just treat as necessary," Tonya Lohman, the district's maintenance and traffic engineer said.
With on and off freezing drizzle expected during the next 24 hours, treating the roads can be difficult. If it's just rain, no treatment will be needed but if ice begins to accumulate on roads, treatment will begin.
"That will be a combination of salt, sand, and chips that we will put down," Lohman said. "The salt and chips will help give traction so the wheels will have something to grip to if it's starting to have a little bit of iciness."
As compared to other events this year, the ice poses unique and difficult challenges for road crews.
"It's so much easier to go out and plow the snow and be done," Lohman said. "You see the snow, you push it off the roadway and then you treat the roadway. This kind of event is very wearing because it's harder to tell what's slick and what's not slick. You have to actually physically go and drive all of the roadways and see and get a gauge for how much is sticking and how much isn't."
Temperatures play a critical role in what falls from the sky and what sticks. The temperature in the atmosphere will control what falls from the sky, the temperatures at the surface dictate what sticks, and road temperatures decide what accumulates.
Lohman said that more than 170 trucks will be used to treat the roadways. Crews were out beginning early Tuesday morning and will be ready to go throughout the event.
Lohman recommends that if you don't have to travel to not to but if you do, allow extra stopping distance and drive slowly and carefully.
She adds that icy roads are difficult to spot as they could look wet and actually be icy or vice versa so travel with caution Tuesday night and Wednesday.
With the official start of Spring coming in just 24 days, she hopes, and something that many people are also thinking, that this is the last of wintry weather.
"We are all frankly tired of winter so this is just one more nail in the coffin," Lohman added.
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