COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
As the first snow of 2020 is now here and the effects of COVID-19 still hitting businesses and some industries, three local transportation agencies said on Monday that luckily their budget for snow and ice removal has not taken a hit from the virus.
The Missouri Department of Transportation, Boone County Road and Bridge and Jefferson City Public Works officials all said on Monday that they have enough supplies to get them through the rest of the year, but COVID-19 could have an impact on the manpower of crews.
“We’ve stocked up on our salt Back in March,” said Edington. “So we getting a full bin of salt. The impact that it (COVID-19) could have is our loss of labor… due to quarantine or exposure.
Edington believes as long as crews are safe and abide by the county’s guidelines he thinks the department will be okay.
While Britt Smith with Jefferson City Public Works said the potential limit on manpower would be the biggest effect they face for COVID-19 too.
Smith said right now crews are focused on trying to limit that exposure as much as possible, but he said they do have a plan and available backups if a crew member tested positive for the virus.
“Well, the plan is we roll with the punches,” said Smith. “But we have our street staff that’s our frontline staff that do snow removal. And then we have some other personnel within public works that can be called on if necessary. We have to play the hand that you know was dealt us and we will do the best that we possibly can.”
Adam Pulley, the Missouri Department of Transportation Central District Communications Manager said the central district has 500 drivers that are ready to go out for winter operations. 227 trucks ready to go, 17,000 tons of salt and 133,000 gallons of salt brine.
“We know that right now we’ve got the salt to cover the next bit,” said Pulley. “We’ve got the brine…we’ve got the drivers, we’ve got the trucks. So really what we try to do is just go storm by storm really. And then you kind of get to the end of winter and that’s really where you’re able to more evaluate your budgeting.”
As of Monday night, all three agencies do not plan on having crews treat the roads but they do have crews monitoring the conditions overnight and into the morning.
Crews said it’s important to be careful as you head to work on Tuesday morning as roads may still be slick in spots like overpasses and bridges.