The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 20, 2013

Road crews preparing for winter storm to hit area

MANKATO — As meteorologists were watching a storm system move across the country Wednesday, Mankato’s street department employees were filling brine tanks on snowplows.

City crews also were preparing for today’s predicted heavy snowfall by pre-treating Mankato’s major arteries and hills with a chemical brine that makes snow removal easier and makes driving in town a less-slick experience for motorists.

Jim Braunshausen, Mankato’s street department supervisor, said the plan is to apply the solution before almost every snow event that heads this way.

“This is a full-blown event we are expecting,” Branshausen said of the impending storm.

Minnesota Public Radio’s meteorologist Paul Huttner forecasted the heaviest accumulation in the state will fall in south-central Minnesota with a possible 5 to 7 inches from Blue Earth County to the Iowa border.

Snow will move into southern Minnesota Thursday night and slowly tamper off Friday.

While the city of Mankato crews will be taking care of the streets, residents should take care to watch for alerts about where to park vehicles if heavy snow is dumped on Mankato.

Braunshausen’s department decides whether or not to declare a snow emergency for the city.

 “We always have everything ready to go,” said Shelly Schulz, public information director for Mankato. “It all starts with our public works department.”

To get the word out, the city uses its webpage, Facebook and Twitter. Residents may sign up to receive text message alerts by visiting the city of Mankato website: www.mankato-mn.gov/.

Minnesota Department of Transportation District 7 crews also were busy Wednesday pre-treating highways in area towns, especially bypasses and bridges.

Knowing when to send out the snowplow/truck crews and when to apply road chemicals is partly serious science and partly a guessing game, said Tom Zimmerman, the district’s supervisor of roads.

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