GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Crews with the Kent County Road Commission made the decision early Sunday morning to start putting salt down on state highways in hopes of breaking up some of the hard-packed snow and ice left behind from the blizzard.
“It’s going well. Not as well as we’d hoped because we’re still getting lake effect continuing even into the evening,” Kent County Road Commission Deputy Managing Director of Operations Jerry Byrne said.
Although he said they’ve made strides, drivers should be aware there are still a lot of icy spots.
“I drove around quite a bit this morning, again this afternoon, talked to the crews throughout the day. Again, we’re getting a lot of that hard pack off but then if you get into a shaded area or you get where the hard pack is a little thicker it’s just not coming off as quick as we’d like,” Byrne explained.
As much as he was hoping night crews would get to spend Christmas at home, they had to be called in to continue laying down salt into the evening, so that the day’s progress wouldn’t be lost.
“Normally we don’t salt all night long,” he said. “Because we took advantage of about 17 to 20 degree temperatures it started to loosen up, so we’re going to continue to put salt on that so we can break that hard ice off the road tonight.”
A full crew of more than 90 employees worked throughout Christmas Day and 35 to 40 will work Christmas night. As of now, Byrne said roadways are drivable, but that drivers should be aware that conditions are going to change as temperatures fall again. If there are wet spots where the salt thawed any ice, that will refreeze. He said you should continue to drive slower than normal and avoid using cruise control.
The focus will remain on higher volume roads such as state highways for now. Byrne said they plan to let Mother Nature help out with country roads and neighborhood streets as the temperatures go back up later in the week.