Road crews prepare for big winter storm

Crews out through night keeping streets clear

With this being the first big snowstorm of the season, city crews were busy with preparations Monday.

With the mild weather, some are wondering if crews will be prepared.
For road crews in our area, a large storm like the one blowing in this week takes days to prepare.

Many supplies like salt and sand haven’t been used much this winter. But Monday’s storm is changing that.

“The guys are sort of excited and have a large event for the first one,” said Kevin Schubert, assistant city engineer with Onalaska.

Road crews there were preparing early Monday morning for the impending storm.

“We’re also having some of the drivers go out and actually drive their route beforehand just to make sure there’s not an obstacle in the way,” said Shubert. “Sometimes with the holiday season, somebody has family over and there are more parked cars around the corner than usual, so those are some of the things we are doing right now.”

With seven plows and seven routes in Onalaska, teamwork is required to handle some of area’s busiest streets.

“There are a couple of routes that will get doubled up, some of our larger areas here,” said Schubert. “East Main Street and out by the mall area where we have a wider street, we actually need two snowplows to get the snow from the center line of the street into the boulevard, so we’re not just building a big snow bank.”

For La Crosse County, keeping larger roads like the interstate clear can prove challenging.
The interstate is considered a 24-hour road, meaning multiple crews will be working through the night.

“With the interstate, we have backup drivers ready to go on,” said Joe Langeberg, highway engineer with La Crosse County. “These guys will be done around 10 or 11, so then the backup drivers will come on and keep it cleared through the night.”

Whether you are driving a side street or the interstate, crews are asking drivers to be cautious around plows.”

“If you get behind one, they’re going to be a little slower getting to your destination, but hopefully you get there safely,” said Schubert.

“(Drivers should) take their time, give the trucks plenty of room to work, and be patient,” said Langeberg.

The Wisconsin DOT reported that as of late as Monday morning, there had been 165 traffic incidents in the state.

With some plow routes as long as 40 miles, crews are also asking for patience in clearing roads