Road commission and first responders grapple with first major storm of winter
Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com
Related coverage of the storm:
- Images from Ann Arbor's first major snowfall
- Share your photos of the snow and wintertime fun
- Numerous accidents reported across Washtenaw County as winter storm hits
- Ann Arbor's 'snowconomy' businesses excited to see snow falling
Reports of traffic accidents across Washtenaw County continued to accumulate along with the snow Wednesday.
The Washtenaw County Road Commission had all 46 trucks out doing a mix of salting and plowing, said Jim Harmon, director of operations.
Harmon said trucks were out salting even before the snow started falling Wednesday afternoon in an effort to prevent it from sticking when it came.
Crews continued their efforts throughout the storm. The day shift was expected to quit around 8 p.m. and be replaced with the night shift, which would continue the snow removal efforts until 4 a.m., when the day shift comes back on.
Areas of Ann Arbor had reportedly received up to 4 inches of snow by 6 p.m. A winter weather advisory was in effect until 7 a.m. Thursday.
Harmon hopes to have the major roadways cleared for the morning rush hour.
The road commission is responsible for all the major area freeways -- M-14, U.S. 23 and Interstate 94 -- as well as all the major paved county roads like Jackson, Carpenter and North Territorial. These take precedence to secondary roads.
"We're hoping to get to some secondary roads tomorrow," Harmon said.
The city of Ann Arbor has all seven of its trucks out plowing and salting. Crews were expecting to hit primary roads first, then move to lower priorities. City residents can track the plows' routes essentially in real time via an online tool that debuted last year.
Meanwhile, police and fire organizations responded to numerous spin-outs and other weather-related traffic incidents throughout the county Wednesday.
There were four accidents in Ypsilanti as of 5:30 p.m., including a two-car accident at Washtenaw Avenue and Perrin Street and a few spin-outs on I-94, police and fire officials there said.
The Saline Area Fire Department had responded to four weather-related accidents, officials said, including a rollover on Surrey Drive off Ann Arbor-Saline Road and a three-car accident at Macon and Jordan roads. There were no reported injuries in either accident.
Officials at the Chelsea Area Fire Authority said they responded to three spin-outs on I-94 Wednesday at Kalmbach, Dancer and Pierce roads. No injuries were reported.
Ann Arbor police Lt. Ed Dreslinski said there have been many instances of drivers losing control and hitting curbs in the city. He encourages people to stay off the roads.
"Go home, grab a cup of coffee and stay inside," he said.