FORT DODGE, Iowa — It’s a Monday, but still the observed New Year’s Day in the City of Fort Dodge. City employes are at home with their families. In the Public Works garage, the lights are on in the office, and Doug Barkema, the Public Works Operation Manager, and Brett Daniel, the Public Works Director, have pens and paper out working on a plan to react to the forecast ice storm.

“So with what the weather forecast is calling for with some potential for some rain earlier, kind of limits what we can do,” said Daniel. “We can’t put the brine down, like you can in certain circumstances, the rain will just delete it, so we’re going do a little bit different we’re going put kind of a sand salt mix down on bridges in Hills.”

Later on as the roads turn icy they will be using more salt. The effort to keep roads in good shape starts with two crew members who will go out onto the roads at four pm.  As the storm progresses they will advise how many other crew members might be needed. When attacking the ice, the main priority if the main arterial roads, not residential streets.

“We’ll do Arterial roads, and then we really babysit the hills and bridges, if you start getting behind on bridges that can be a big pain trying to recoup,” said Daniel. “We do not go to neighborhoods for ice, we stay on the main roads, hills, and bridges, when things come back under control, we may go back and put some on the busier intersections.”

Schools are also on the priority list, except this week, the schools are out for the holidays.

“It could be I mean they’re predicting up potentially up to a half inch of ice, and if, and if we get that there’s potential for power outages,” said Daniel. “It is gonna be times when things are really tough traveling around, we will do the best we can,  we’re gonna need assistance from people staying off the roads in and allowing us to do what we can do.”

If the storm gets worse, the City can have four snow plow crews on the streets over night. Employees have been warned their services could be needed due to this storm.

Daniel said City crews had success with the last blizzard warning before Christmas. The crews were able to clear much of the snow prior to the winds coming up. Then crews were left to do touch up work.

Barkema said that a member of the public stopped him after the blizzard cleared to let him know that he thought the city crews did a wonderful job keeping roads open during the blizzard.