MANSFIELD, Ill. — As you get ready for a white Christmas, public works crews are doing the same. Some officials are worried about the freezing potential and icy roads.
What we see later on this week will be very reminiscent of what we saw earlier this year. And towns are hoping the prior experience could help them to not slide into the same mistakes.
The salt is stacked, and the plows are ready to go. An upcoming winter storm has some towns on edge.
Officials with the Mansfield Public Works Department say they’re completely ready for what’s gearing up to be the second part of the February winter storm that swept through Central Illinois.
It’ll be rain followed by snow and temperatures as low as five degrees. But Bill Hardy of Public Works says he’s worried about something else.
“When the wind picks up, it really messes with us. Like out at our lakeside out here, it’s right alongside 74, and the wind whips over the top of the interstate. Sometimes it makes that a mess out there. So, we have to kind of work at it a little more than what we do here in town, but the wind will be a big factor,” said Hardy.
And Friday will bring winds as strong as 54 miles per hour. Hardy says even their preparation might not be enough.
“Because you can clean something off and twenty minutes later it’s already blown back across the road and it’s got it shut down for you,” said Hardy.
Both Mansfield and its neighbors to the west, Farmer City, have piles of salt ready to go. But those low temperatures could mean they’ll need more than just salt.
“Anything 15 degrees and below. It’s just– yeah, you’re just wasting it,” said Farmer City Street Superintendent Fred Graning.
They were down equipment following a fire. But this time around with a brand-new truck. They hope to get more down on the front end of the storm.
“Instead of waiting until the end of the storm when you got five or six inches of snow you’re trying to plow, that’s not very doable,” added Graning.
But even with more prep and a new vehicle, Graning says there’s another way for people to ensure personal safety.
“Whenever this weather starts just stay home,” said Graning.
Hardy says now is the time for drivers to make sure their vehicle is safe. That includes checking windshield wipers, and washer fluid, and packing a winter safety kit.