Road crews prepare for Columbus’ first winter storm of the season

City, county and state road crews prepared as much as possible Friday for this weekend’s anticipated 5 to 7 inches of snow in Columbus.

But a larger concern among many emergency responders is how Bartholomew County motorists will handle the first significant winter storm of the season.

The winter storm warning that is expected to remain in effect until 7 a.m. Sunday means significant amounts of snow, sleet and ice could make travel hazardous, according to the National Weather Service.

Total accumulations of 5 to 7 inches of snow, as well as a light glaze of ice, are possible on Saturday.

The weather service also warns there could be areas with higher amounts of snow, as well as the potential for lower visibility during heavy snow bands.

In preparation, city, county and state road crews have been putting down brine on secondary streets and roads since Wednesday.

However, crews usually wait until just before the snow arrives to put down brine on thoroughfares and main streets, so the mixture is fresher and more effective on heavily-traveled streets, Columbus’ director of public works Bryan Burton said.

Indiana Department of Transportation snow plow drivers are concerned that rain might fall ahead of the snow, and wash off much of the pre-treatments, said INDOT spokesman Harry Maginity.

Those treatments not only help keep the blacktop from icing up, but also provide a barrier between the wintry precipitation and the asphalt.

“It’s not quite like Teflon, but it’s the same idea,” Maginity said.

For complete details, see Saturday’s Republic.