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Placing 'Blame'at the Highway Department - Are You Serious?

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"Missouri Department of Transportation crews began arriving to work at midnight Wednesday and were putting down salt after snow began to fall between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. The crews applied rock salt that had been moistened with water to all of the interstate highways in the Missouri half of the region. When temperatures began to drop, crews prepared to hit the roads a second time ‑ this time with a mix of salt,
beet juice and calcium chloride."

It reads to me that the Highway Department was doing its job.

I can not believe the things I read or heard over the last couple of days concerning the Wednesday night (1-11-12) snow/ice event - both on the TV, radip stations and in the newspapers that service the St. Louis Metro area. Both my husband and I are 'northerners' and stand qualified and 'educated' enough to give this opinion.

Brian was born in Cold Lake, Alberta Canada and later lived in Winnepeg, Manitoba Canada. During the winter, it snows just about every single day, non-stop in Winnepeg. The snow is a dry snow and not near as 'moist and icy' as the typical Missouri snow. The road crews treat that snow with chemical enhanced dirt because it is so cold in that area, the chemicals don't kick in immediately. I seldom saw any vehicle accidents.

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. 6 - 8 foot snow banks were normal in the winter months. Public parking lots were flooded and used for hockey and skating rinks. We walked to and from home, schools, parks and rec centers daily. Occasionally, we opened our garage doors to sheets of drifted snow that rose far above our roofs. Believe me, I know snow.   

The problem with Wednesday nights weather event is that it was totally unpredictable. It was comprised of that icy snow for which St. Louis is so famous. The frozen stuff that causes safety conditions to change at a moment's notice.

The problem with the transportation travel on Thursday does NOT fall in the lap(s) of people who make the decision on how to proceed for that specific weather event. Given healthier economic times, I feel confident there would be different measures used - more risk taken - but, when the economy is what it is today, there isn't much room for waste. However, someone should have the power to issue the directive for people to stay home and off the streets, unless its an emergency situation. Period.

Had that announcement be given, more people would have not taken the chance and heeded the warning. When morning traffic fills the highways, how can anyone expect the plows to get through the traffic stalled/stuck the roadways? Then the zero-degree weather and the ice packed roadways become ice rinks and disasters occur.

Now, before our upper management at the Highway Department spend tens of thousands of dollars (or more) on a senseless 'who dun it' study, PLEASE assign someone to call the shots at the last minute when the storms intensify without notice.

And,  residents (and business owners) of the Metro St. Louis area, when you receive the message...LISTEN! stay home if at all possible.  Unless you sell snow shovels or salt...are a convenience store/gasoline station...or are a first responder in the community - STAY WHERE YOU ARE, until the situation gets under control.

Special thanks to the Missouri Highway Department and St Louis and St. Charles County Highway Department for the long hours of hard work you put into keeping our roadways safe.  Forget the politics! You did great!