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City, county garages clearing hundreds of miles of roads


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Snow falls as motorists make their morning commutes early Friday morning, Dec. 6, 2013, in downtown Columbus.
Snow falls as motorists make their morning commutes early Friday morning, Dec. 6, 2013, in downtown Columbus.


COLUMBUS, Ind. — Dwight Smith, Bartholomew County Highway Superintendent, had 15 snow-plow drivers at work this morning, prepared to tackle 700 miles of county roads.

"It's going to take a long time," said Smith, who said they also were fighting a battle of snow re-covering roadways that already had been plowed.

Drivers headed out to every township and were prepared to plow and plow again, Smith said.

Although drivers were not focused on any specific trouble areas, they were making sure hills and curves got a little extra salt and sand.

Unfortunately, Smith added, the straight roads have their share of problems as well because motorists drive too fast on these stretches.

Bryan Burton, Columbus City Garage director, said crews started working on the roads at about 1 a.m. Friday and were keeping up until around 8:45 a.m.

Burton said they will try to keep the main roads clear and start on side streets as they have time, but if the snow comes down too fast, he might let snow plow drivers go home a few hours to rest before coming back to start again.

Burton is closely watching the weather reports, including snowfall predictions and temperatures as he prepares his strategy for the day.

Police are urging motorists to use caution and reduce their speeds as they travel on the snow- and ice-covered roads today.

Police were working a five-vehicle accident at the 76-mile marker of Interstate 65 this morning, but Maj. Todd Noblitt, chief deputy with Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department, said he believed the injuries were minor.

No other details were available.

As the snowfall continues to accumulate, road conditions are beginning to deteriorate around Columbus, Noblitt said.

"Rush hour went pretty well, then there was just too much snow coming down to keep up," Noblitt said.

City police officers had responded to a few slideoffs, including one near U.S. 31 and Lowell Road and another at Central Avenue and 10th Street, said Lt. Matt Myers, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

"Overall it's been good so far," Myers said at about 8:15 a.m. today, but he added that "people are driving way too fast."

Decatur County Emergency Management has issued a no travel advisory issued for Decatur County. It was to be reviewed at 10 a.m.

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