McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 3, 2014

McAlester streets and roadways being salted, work is underway on state and federal highways

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — The city of McAlester crews were working the streets Monday and bracing for another winter storm forecast for Tuesday.

Early Monday McAlester City Manager Pete Stasiak said the crews were concentrating on spreading salt.

“We've got almost every crew out salting,” Stasiak said.

City crews had concentrated on trying to clear streets to McAlester Regional Health Center on Sunday, he said.

City crews did not get heavy equipment with blades on most other city streets until 8 or 9 a.m. Monday, according to Stasiak.

“The reason was it froze so hard we weren't getting any penetration with the blades,” Stasiak said Monday. “We kept the equipment off because all we were doing was getting the snow off the ice.”

That would have made the streets even slicker, Stasiak said.

“You want to leave that little cover of snow on the ice,” he said.

Early Monday, city crews continued to focus on spreading salt at intersections, Statsiak said.

“Once it gets some sun on it and starts melting off, it allows us to get in there and start scooping off,” Stasiak said.

Crews were concentrating on the major snow routes, he said.

City employees with Streets and Maintenance Departments were spreading the salt.

A new truck with detachable snow blade has already been ordered by the city, but has not yet arrived in McAlester.

For now, the city is making due with equipment already on-hand. That includes a road-grater, a loader with a blade on the front and all of the city's back-hoes.

City crews plan to be ready with more salt for the winter weather forecast for Tuesday, Stasiak said.

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's Pittsburg County office had crews out since Sunday working on state and federal highways.

Early Monday, workers are glad to see the sun coming out but the initial result was to make parts of the highway slicker.

“Right now, we've got the sun popping out and glazing the top of it,” Joe Morris, an ODOT mechanic, said early Monday.

”In places, it's turning lose, but it is slick in most places.”

ODOT workers are responsible for U.S. Highway 69, U.S. Highway 270 and State Highways, including State Highway 31, State Highway 63 and State Highway 113.

ODOT crews from nearby areas were expected to drive to McAlester Monday and assist the local crews.