City, county crews battle snow during, after Friday blizzard
By the time the last flake fell Saturday morning, road crews in Versailles, Midway and Woodford County had used tons of salt to push many more tons of snow off the roads. State crews handle state and federal roads. Versailles Public Works Director Bart Miller called the Wednesday, Jan. 20, morning storm, which dropped two or three inches of snow, an “appetizer.” The main course began early Friday morning, when the second round dumped another eight or so inches on most of the county. Windblown drifts left some areas blanketed in more a foot of snow. Woodford County County Road Engineer Buan Smith said during the second round, he had a dozen workers clearing 180 miles of county roads Friday from 5 a.m.to 9 p.m., and again starting at 6 a.m. Saturday. They’d learned a lesson during last year’s massive snowstorms in February and March, when several county trucks wound up needing to be pulled from the side of the road they were trying to clear: Do as much work as possible during the day. This time, Smith said, only one needed an assist – to get out of a ditch on Craigs Creek Road Friday night. Smith said his crews used between 150 and 200 tons of salt for Wednesday’s appetizer. A “minor fender-bender” happened when a county road truck was trying to turn around at the end of Oregon Road and struck a citizen’s vehicle. Smith said after the two engagements, the county had about 300 tons of salt left in its barn, with another 800 available on short notice. “I’m just glad it’s over, with this next round being rain,” Smith said. Versailles Miller said the February and March storms last year left Versailles leaders a little gun-shy, but more prepared. “When you go through situations like that, it kind of hardens you and makes you ready for whatever is dealt to you,” assistant public works director Paul Simmons said. “The people that are working for us have been here a long time, they’ve been through a lot of different situations, and we’re ready to do whatever it takes,” Miller said. Miller said workers used about 50 tons of salt to clear the 47 miles of city streets Wednesday, and another 150 tons Friday and early Saturdaymorning. They followed up with a bit of what Miller called “spot-cleaning” Saturday afternoon and Sunday. “It was very manageable for us,” Miller said. “What really helped us was the amount of people who stayed off the roads, especially Friday. A lot of places were closed and for city, county and state officials; it gave us room to work.” Midway Midway has a contract with Wright Farm Service, and Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said the Richmond-based company did its work on the 11 miles of city streets “flawlessly.” Company workers pre-treated roads Thursday, then returned early Friday morning and stayed on the job until late Friday night. By early Saturdaymorning, all city streets were cleared, he said. Vandegrift agreed with Miller’s assertion that last year’s snowstorms seem to have helped contractors and citizens alike handle such events. So did the brand of white stuff that fell this time. “I think it definitely helped that this was a light powdery snow. I think that helped things a lot. I’m sure that people were certainly inconvenienced and put out by it, but hopefully, everybody stayed safe and were able to only be slightly inconvenienced by it,” Vandegrift said.