By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands of commuters are getting ready to go back to work Tuesday morning after a long holiday weekend.

But that could be difficult for anyone having to drive. Monday night, highway crews are treating the roads for not only the snow, but also ice.

There was only around an inch of snow in the metro, but combined with the freezing drizzle it really made a mess of the roads.

Highway crews had to act fast as they switched over to de-icing chemicals.

At shift change inside Anoka County’s highway department, crews clearing roads by day got nighttime reinforcement.

“Once the snow comes, the weather, we go nonstop 24/7 until the roads are all clear,” crew leader Jim Plemon said.

Plemon says this storm threw a curve ball, coming first as freezing rain.

So besides moving snow, they’re spreading salt and liquid brine to attack the ice.

“As long as we get the roads scraped up and get the product down, which we’re applying salt right now, and the temperatures are pretty good, it should work pretty quick,” Plemon said.

Ice just adds to the dangers. Holiday traffic was light but still led to hundreds of accidents and spinouts. Adding to the danger is when drivers try to quickly pass the plows.

“Most of the time they get around safely, but you always have a few incidents,” Plemon said.

It’s like playing roulette with a 40-ton plow.

“Take your time and be patient,” Plemon said.

Returning to a parked car brought drivers a sound as shrill as fingernails on a chalkboard.

“I don’t like it but it’s winter, it’s Minnesota,” Rose Dickenson said.

And it’s been a long, cold one at that.

“If somebody gave me a free ticket to go to the warm states, I’d be there,” Dickenson said.

Plemon says it’s gratifying clearing the roads for the public. But again he asks for patience on the part of motorists. He doesn’t want to see anybody wreck their car, or worse yet, get injured.


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