The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 8, 2014

Still digging out

Roads remain dangerous to drivers

BY CAROL ROEHM croehm@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — Thermometers refused to budge Tuesday as the area continued to dig out from Sunday’s snowstorm.

Three people were admitted to Presence United Medical Center in Danville for treatment of frostbite between Monday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon. This was in addition to two others who had been admitted Monday morning for hypothermia and severe frostbite.

“We’re seeing quite a few people coming in with injuries related to the weather,” Gretchen Yordy, director of marketing and public relations, said Tuesday.

“Some of those (injuries) are because of people who were trapped in their vehicles. We’ve had staff that stayed the night so they would be here to treat them.”

Yordy said that as of Monday, no one had come to the medical center to warm up. The state of Illinois designated the Department of Human Services at 220 S. Bowman Ave. as Danville’s warming center.

“To the best of the mayor’s knowledge, the warming center wasn’t used by any city resident, mostly because no one lost power,” Theresa Brazelton, executive assistant to the mayor, said. “We had additional sites set up but didn’t use them.”

Also on Tuesday, the Danville Public Works Department announced that household waste collections will resume today and the Brickyard Landfill will be open for operations and able to receive waste.

Danville residents with normal collection days of Monday and Tuesday should place their Toters out for collection by 6 a.m. today. Residents with normal waste collection days of Wednesday and Thursday should place their Toters out for collection by 6 a.m. Thursday. Residents with normal waste collection days on Friday should place their Toters out on Friday.

The Solid Waste Division will use all available equipment and personnel, including those from special collections and yard waste programs to accelerate this collection cycle.

All crews will be working expanded hours from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Routes will be collected in different patterns, so residents need to place Toters out by 6 a.m. on the designated day. Due to potential for equipment failures and/or dumping delays, the city also requests that all containers not collected be left out for collection the following day.

The city’s goal is to be caught up by Friday but certainly no later than Saturday. Special waste collections for large items and major cleanups will be rescheduled in an effort to focus on household waste. The scheduled Christmas tree and yard waste collection program has also been rescheduled for the week of Jan. 13-17.

While conditions showed improvement within Danville’s city limits, some outlying areas remained treacherous.

The Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Indiana Department of Transportation urged motorists to stay off the roads so plows could run and wrecked vehicles could be towed.

“Interstate 74 still continues to be snow/ice covered, as do all other roadways in our district,” Trooper Tracy Lillard of ISP’s District 10 in Pesotum said late Tuesday morning. “Motorists are continuing to slide off into the ditches.”

INDOT issued a warning late Tuesday morning about “the danger on all west central Indiana roads to motorists.” Indiana Route 26 from the Illinois State Line to U.S. Route 41 in Vermillion County remained closed.

The majority of west central Indiana roads were passable Tuesday after a long night by INDOT plow crews battling drifting snow, however, extreme icy conditions still persisted on all roads due to the subzero temperatures.

INDOT said that road salt is less effective in subzero temperatures, and a sheet of ice should be expected on all roads across West Central Indiana, likely through Wednesday, when temperatures are expected to become more favorable for chemical melting agents and plows.

Those who must travel are asked to be prepared before leaving and to adjust driving behaviors to arrive at destinations safely.

“Take it slow, while leaving plenty of room between vehicles, and give our plows plenty of room to work,” said Debbie Calder at INDOT’s Crawfordsville District. “Crashes, slide-offs and traffic backups further hinder INDOT’s snow and ice removal efforts and jeopardize the safety of others.”

INDOT encouraged the public to refrain from any non-emergency travel through Wednesday. All counties in West Central Indiana remained under a “Watch” or “Warning” status, limiting travel to essential or emergency purposes.

In Illinois, IDOT issued a similar statement Tuesday saying that while road conditions were improving in some areas, the majority of roads throughout the state were still snow and ice covered. Blowing and drifting snow remained a problem, and the extreme low temperatures were reducing the effectiveness of the salt being spread by IDOT winter weather crews.

Motorists were encouraged to stay home and avoid travel until roads are clear and safe.

“Motorists need to heed to our advice and slow down on Illinois roadways,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said in a press release. “The roads are snow packed, extremely slick and dangerous. If motorists have to travel, please take it slow, buckle up, avoid distractions and allow plenty of extra time. We want everyone to make it to their destination safely.”

IDOT said its winter weather crews will continue to plow and salt to help ensure roads are clear and passable. Most roads have re-opened, but there are still some road closures throughout the state due to snow and ice.

Currently, IDOT has 1,755 trucks assigned to snow duty across the state, and nearly 3,700 full- and part-time employees available to plow and salt.