Madison switches from salt to sand; snowier roads ahead

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 5:11 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Morning commuters in Madison who were already bracing for a longer trip to work should give themselves even more time now. The city’s Streets Division has switched from salting the roads to laying sand on the hills, curves, and intersections.

The change means drivers should expect the main roads to be covered with snow and, while the sand is used to increase traction, the roads will be very slippery. The decision was made because colder temperatures cause salt less effective, Streets Superintendent Charlie Romines explained.

“Make sure you are factoring in additional time as you are making your way through the City today because roads will be slick,” he added. “If you must be on the roads today: be slow, be safe, and stay alert. Above all, make good choices.”

Snowplows and crews have been treating the city’s main streets all night and will continue to do so for as long as the storm lasts, Romines assured residents. However, the snow that has been falling all night is expected to increase through Thursday. Then, high winds predicted to blow through on Friday and Saturday are expected to stir up that snow and dramatically reduce visibility.

“Keep in mind, more snow is coming today and following that snowstorm will be exceptionally high winds that will lead to white out conditions as the fluffy dry snow is scattered causing significant blowing and drifting problems throughout our city,” Romines wrote.

With even colder temperatures ahead, the Streets Division cautions that main roads are expected to remain snow-covered into next week.

Romines noted that his agency has shut down its drop off sites on Thursday and Friday in order to enlist more people to battle the potential blizzard. Elsewhere across the city, trash collection services were suspended on Friday and city office buildings will close at two o’clock and remain closed throughout Friday as its employees switch to virtual work.

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