Icy roads create major headache for salt trucksSubmitted: 01/29/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

RHINELANDER - The weather made a messy morning across the Northwoods.

Dozens of schools in the viewing area were either delayed or closed completely.

Plenty of people slipping and sliding around.

You might think warm temperatures will help clear those icy roads, but they can actually be a major headache for safety crews.

Oneida County Highway workers started their day at dawn this morning.

Their main goal was to get the streets plowed and salted before heavy traffic and school buses got out.

Highway Department Commissioner Freeman Bennett says the temperatures bouncing from one extreme to the next is a nightmare.

"If the roads are wet and especially on the high side parts of the curb, the snow melts and washes across the road and washes all the salt residue off, said Bennett.

"Then when the temperatures drop so fast and freezes instantly, the big problem that we have is when it's 18 degrees below zero. The salt doesn't work."

Pot holes are another issue for salt truck drivers.

Bennett says having to refill them can get very tedious.

"If we can get the cleaned up in the summer time a lot of times what we'll do is hot mix asphalt and then they stay," Bennett said.

"But around this time of the year, it's tough. It gets wet and pops right back out again. So after a day like today we'll be out there again Thursday and we'll be patching them one more time."

Bennett says the best thing to do with icy roads like today is leave an hour early.

Give the salt trucks space.

Even though they're moving at a slow pace, they can spin out as well.

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