Some Oklahoma Roads Continue To Pose Hazards For Drivers
By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6
UNDATED -- Although temperatures are expected to go above freezing across much of Oklahoma, motorists are still urged to use caution - especially on rural roadways and as roads re-freeze Sunday evening.
While many highways are in decent shape after the winter storm, many less traveled rural roads are still slick and hazardous. News on 6 Anchor Craig Day sent in a photo from 136th Street North and Memorial in Collinsville. Sand trucks are out treating roads, but drivers should remain cautious.
In Tulsa, the city continues work clearing snow and ice from streets and bridges. Many rural areas had even more snow.
Many towns just to the north and east of Tulsa were pounded with more snow and ice, and they're working just as hard to get their roads cleared.
Three days after the storm, Chouteau crews are still hard at work keeping the roads clear. Kevin Hershberger has been on the job since the storm began.
"We put sand down on every intersection, the most important intersections, not every intersection," said Kevin Hershberger, Chouteau Public Works. "We had an accident earlier (Sunday) morning, so we're still out here, trying to keep these streets safe."
Mayes County officials say the cleanup is going a lot smoother than the Christmas Eve blizzard.
For starters, Mother Nature is cooperating. Mike Dunham says he has seen more ODOT trucks on county highways than the last time around.
"This time, it's excellent. ODOT's been very aggressive in getting the roads cleared. They've really pushed and pushed and worked all night and day and really have gotten the roads in very passable order," said Mike Dunham, Mayes County Emergency Management.
Like in Tulsa, major roads seem to be in pretty good shape, but they're wet and refreezing is still an issue.
Chouteau Fire Chief Ted Key says his department responded to half a dozen fender benders Friday night.
"People coming into here was able to run full speed on the highway up until this area, but then you get east of here and you got into glazed ice and that was causing us a lot of accidents," said Chief Ted Key, Chouteau Fire Department.
Many families are enjoying what's left of the snow without having to hit the roads. It's a winter paradise for the Higgins girls.
Jeffrey Smith: "What do you guys like about the snow?"
"We can make snow angels and make snowmen" said sisters Desirae and Rebecca Higgins.
Chouteau workers say they'll likely put the equipment away on Monday, but with slush and ice still visible, the work goes on.
In Chouteau, crews say the heavy lifting is behind them. But they say at night, refreezing on bridges and overpasses will still be an issue for several more days.
ODOT Road Conditions Update 1-31-10 -- 8:30 p.m.
ODOT crews made more progress in clearing Oklahoma's highways and interstates (Sunday). While many counties in western and south-central Oklahoma are reporting roadways clear of snow, refreezing conditions on wet roadways throughout the state are a concern (Sunday night). Drivers need to be alert (Sunday night) and into (Monday) morning for black ice conditions, and should plan for slower travel at this time.
Drivers are reminded to stay at least 200 feet behind road-clearing equipment, for both their safety and the safety of the operators. During snow and/or ice conditions, motorists are asked to:
- Be aware that conditions are continually changing; drive cautiously and for the conditions on the roadway.
- Check road conditions before getting out on the roads.
- Stay at least 200 feet behind road-clearing equipment; crews need room to maneuver and can engage plowing or spreading materials without notice.
- Allow extra space between vehicles, so there is adequate distance for braking in wet and icy conditions.
- Be aware of "black ice," which looks wet on the roadway, but is actually a thin layer of ice.
- Be patient, plan trips ahead and allow extra time to reach destinations.
To check CURRENT ROAD CONDITIONS, call the Department of Public Safety's ROAD CONDITIONS HOTLINE at 888-425-2385.
Out-of-State Road Conditions:
- Arkansas 800-245-1672
- Colorado 303-639-1111
- Kansas 866-511-5368
- Missouri 800-222-6400
- New Mexico 800-432-4269
- Oklahoma 888-425-2385
- Texas 800-452-9292