The St. Francois County Road and Bridge Department crews were out in full force this weekend treating the roadways after ice coated the area late Saturday and early Sunday.

Road and Bridge Supervisor Clay Copeland said he and another supervisor were out checking the roads Saturday evening.

“John Gross, the other supervisor, and I started running roads about 5 p.m. Saturday and everything was good, but then at about midnight when we went to check the roads we had to (call) the guys in because things were really slick,” said Copeland. “We called everybody in and were running every truck and every route.”

Copeland said they were able to get the roads taken care of by Sunday afternoon but planned to keep monitoring then through this morning.

“We had four trucks in the ditch that we were able to get out with no injuries and no damage.”

Copeland explained that because the roads were so slick they couldn’t drive the trucks forward in some areas, so they had to drive in reverse and spread aggregate ahead of them for traction.

“So all of our trucks were running their routes Sunday morning,” said Copeland. “It’s been a hairy night to say the least, but there has been no big damages and no injuries and that is the main thing. We are just trying to get the roads safe for everyone.”

Copeland was thankful that the public had been staying off the roads. He added he believes it helped with it being Sunday and most area churches cancelled services.

“It allowed us to get the roads cleared,” Copeland said. “Really, all we can do is put material down. As far as clearing the roads there was nothing to plow. So we just put the aggregate and the salt mix down.”

“Each one of our trucks has roughly 40 miles of road to cover,” Copeland explained. “We will determine whether or not we work (Monday). It is a holiday for us, but we may still be working.”

Copeland said he and Gross planned to run the roads over night and into this morning.

“It is supposed to warm up (today) and all of this should melt because it’s going to get up in the 40s and that will be to our advantage,” Copeland said. “We will just have to monitor the roads and see what happens (in the early morning hours).”

Copeland said putting the material down on the road was all they could do to make the roads not as slick.

“We ran 14 to 16 hours (Sunday) and will regroup (this) morning.”

Missouri State Highway Patrol Spokesperson Trooper Dallas Thompson said they were seeing issues on many area roadways Sunday.

“A lot of St. Francois County and Washington County roads were still partially covered and slick (on Sunday),” said Thompson. “I know overall we have had more than 100 crashes in Troop C so far since the weather hit. They didn’t break down the numbers, so I am not sure how many were in this area.”

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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