The St. Francois County Road and Bridge Department has been out pre-treating the roads in anticipation of the winter weather that is being predicted in coming days.

Road and Bridge Supervisor Clay Copeland said they were actually prepared this past weekend for the winter weather and they did get a little, but it was nothing major.

“We have all of our trucks ready and outfitted,” Copeland said. “We are ready to go for tomorrow and if snow would hit right now, we are ready. We have been out (Monday) pretreating, because some of the reports we are getting says it may start around noon (Tuesday).”

Copeland said they went out with half of their fleet on Monday to pre-treat the hills and curves in the worst areas.

“We didn’t pre-treat the whole road, we really don’t have the resources to do that like the state does,” Copeland said Monday. “When we know a bad storm is more than likely coming, then we will go pre-treat the hills and curves and that is what we are out doing today.”

Copeland added if the weather hits, they are ready and will have their trucks and staff waiting to start running the roads. He said they are anticipating having to work all night and if they end up doing that, they will be ready.

“It all depends on the severity, what they are calling for and what actually happens, as far as working the crew the entire night or breaking them up into two groups,” Copeland said. “We have worked the entire crew all night before and then they just checked things through the day.”

Copeland said they can only drive a certain amount of time. He explained it’s a federal mandate that the driver can only drive 14 hours and then they have to be off for 10 hours.

“If we know it’s going to be a major storm where will be working around the clock for days on end, then we will split our crews. If not, then we won’t,” said Copeland. “It’s guidelines we have to go by and we can’t have a guy behind the wheel of a truck for more than 14 hours."

“As with any winter storm, if you can stay home, stay home,” said Copeland. “Let us do our job and let us get the roads taken care of, because a lot of times our biggest hazards in trying to get these roadways cleared is dealing with traffic.”

He stressed everyone should watch the news and see what the forecast is calling for and if they don’t have to be out, stay home.

“We watch the forecast ... closely and as it gets closer we decide what we will do,” said Copeland. “This time of year we monitor multiple weather news sources and sometimes there are conflicting forecasts, but we just try to prepare a few days out and then see what happens when it comes.”

Copeland added they have some trucks sitting inside that weren’t out pre-treating Monday afternoon and the truck are loaded, outfitted and ready to go. 

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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