The City of Columbia’s Public Works Department has been bracing itself for the threat of an ice storm all week, department spokeswoman Mary Ellen Lea said. The city has been checking all its equipment and began pretreating roads by noon on Friday.
“The closer this gets ,the more we’ll be out there treating the roads,” Lea said mid-day Friday. Public Works recently added two new pick-up trucks with plows and spreaders. The department on Friday started treating bridges with a pure salt mix while watching for rains, which can wash the salt off the road. Lea said the forecast ice accumulations of up to 1 inch of ice can be hazardous, especially to power lines.
“We’re ready to work a 24-hour operation,” she said. Later in the storm, the department will switch to a salt and cinder mix for better traction with tires, but in the beginning the city plans to use a “hot” mixture consisting of higher levels of salt.
“People really need to slow down and be careful because it’s gonna get slick,” Lea said. -- Dan Michel