Ice storms create physical and financial challenges for Morgan County Highway Dept.

WARTBURG (WATE) – Road crews are busy planning for whatever ends up happening with this next winter storm heading our direction. Morgan County Highway Department road crews there are bracing for the ice and planning to make their 550 roads safe on what’s left in their resources.

As dark clouds rolled through Wednesday, road crews were inside a garage fixing plows damaged last week. Officials say the ice has been a big burden on the department and its budget, wiping out the 50 tons of allotted salt the highway department has to use.

Crews are using gravel to get by during the next round.
Crews are using gravel to get by during the next round.

Crews are using gravel to get by during the next round.

“Whether we can melt it or not we can get people to where they have traction,” said Road Superintendent Joe Miller.

The highway department is making do with what’s available, hoping the storm doesn’t hit.

“I’ve got two trucks that have snow plows on them and brine tanks. But with the rain coming in first, it’ll be useless to try and so any pretreatment because the rain will just wash it off,” added Miller.

With so many difficulties so far keeping the 550 miles of road safe, plans are coming together to change the future.

As dark clouds rolled through Wednesday, road crews were inside a garage fixing plows damaged last week.
As dark clouds rolled through Wednesday, road crews were inside a garage fixing plows damaged last week.

“Of course I intend in the next budget year to change that allocation and to change the budget a little bit to where we can hopefully do somewhat better with our salt supply,” said Miller.

In the meantime, most drivers say they plan on staying off the roads.

“Well I spent five years in North Dakota so I know how to drive on the ice and snow. It’s not me that I worry about it’s the other vehicle,” said Morgan County resident Winford Gooch.

Heading into Thursday, crews will be checking bridges and roads for standing water or log jams so that patches of ice won’t form.

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