Icy roads make for dangerous commute - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Icy roads make for dangerous commute


The morning commute on Tuesday was a difficult one with slippery roads and low visibility. Highway officials say since then, conditions have dramatically improved.

Tuesday morning, crews were out salting roads, trying to keep drivers safe. Around 10 a.m., you could barely see the car in front of you, and slippery roads added some elements of surprise for drivers.

"Drive slow and watch the guy in front of you," Ray Stevens of Eagle River said.

Visibility was so low, and roads were so icy in Menominee County that the sheriff's department actually closed a section of Wisconsin 47 for more than three hours. That allowed salt trucks to come through to make conditions more ideal.

That delay prevented Ray Stevens from getting where he needed to go.

"I have work to do on the reservation and someone is waiting for me there, so it's a hold up for us," Stevens said.

During the time 47 was closed, a salt truck left the road. Meanwhile, in Marathon County highway officials say that can happen to anyone.

"It was very slippery. Our trucks can slid into a ditch," Marathon County Highway Department Operations Supervisor Dan Raczkowski said.

Thirty-six road crews worked through the morning throughout the county, salting roads and highways. Officials say the freezing rain is worse than snow.

"It actually takes more salt when we have these freezing rain events and what's bad about it this time of year is there's approximately three feet of frost on the roads so it acts like a freezer," Raczkowski told Newsline 9.

State Patrol officials say that's what creates cause for concern.

"We're urging drivers, if they don't have to travel, not to travel. And if they do, to please slow down and follow at a very safe distance," Wisconsin State Patrol Sgt. Carrie Johnson said.

Highway crews also say to stay back from salt trucks and allow them to do their jobs at keeping roads clear.

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