URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — “We’ll be loading up our trucks, doing our pre-trip inspections and just getting ready to go so as soon as we know the storm is coming we’ll be ready to roll,” Vince Gustafson, with Urbana Public Works, said.
It’s a storm they’re used to seeing earlier in the winter season, but either way, they’re prepared for what we’re expecting to see overnight. This is the first major snow chance to target Central Illinois, but most of our viewing area will see less than two inches.
It should stay dry in Champaign until late tonight, but the western half of our viewing area will get it sooner. Crews have been checking the forecast all day. Some went out and laid down salt to make it harder for snow to stick.
“When the snow comes we stop and put everything else on hold and that’s our first priority,” Gustafson said.
Snow is on the way and in Champaign County, the Highway Department and Urbana Public Works have already prepped for the first real snow of the year.
“What we’ve done is they’ve got the blades on the trucks as needed and we normally load up salt from the salt dome which is across the road there,” John Cooper, with Champaign County Highway Department, said.
“Our shift typically ends at 3, so we’ll keep a crew on hand and once we get the timing of the storm down we’ll probably do a pre-treatment of road salt throughout the city,” Gustafson said.
Urbana’s crew will stay until the next shift comes in at 11 PM. They will work through the night to help clear the roads. They’ve been ready for months.
“This is pretty rare that its this late into the winter season for us really to get going, but our annual winter preparation really starts in September when our mechanics do all our equipment checklist and get everything set up,” Gustafson said.
The highway department is also ready. They say last weekend’s ice helped prepare them.
“We’re definitely prepared,” Cooper said. “We’ve already been out once with that ice storm we had earlier. We had guys out early before to kind of call everybody so we were in pretty good shape there.”
“Just be mindful of the snow plows,” Gustafson said. “Try to keep your distance. Give us plenty of room. A lot of times its hard to see when the wind’s blowing and its dark so just stay back, give us plenty of room to do our job safely.”
Again, they said they don’t expect this to be too bad of a snow fall in Champaign County, but are ready and prepared for anything.