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City Crews, Residents Prepare

Road crews are preparing to hit the streets as the winter storm approaches Mid-Missouri. Missouri Department of Transportation and Columbia Public Works officials say they will have full crews on the roads, but it could still take awhile for them to get to every street.Main roads like Providence Road, Business Loop 70, and Interstate 70 are at the top of the road crews’ priority list because they are some of the most-traveled roads. As for specific streets in subdivision, patience takes precedent over plowing.Between MoDOT and Public Works, most Columbia city streets are strategically accounted for when it comes to clearing snow. Some residents though say they do not always benefit from that plan.”I had two feet of snow in our driveway,” said resident Gene Kite. “I never saw any city trucks here at all.”Kite lives near Chapel Hill Road and says he was snowed in during the 2011 blizzard that brought nearly a foot and a half of snow to the region. Across town in the Grassland, with residential roads that plows cannot typically get to right away, neighbors have similar stories. “Just being able to get out, it probably took two to four days, at least two days to get to Providence,” said one resident.The resident says her neighbors had it even worse and were stuck for nearly a week and now have to plan ahead.”It’s like a precursor to know bad weather is coming, is when our neighbors down the hill park in front of our house,” she said.That’s because the city does not get to the residential roads until more heavily traveled roads are cleared. The city’s first priority goes to Broadway, Paris Road, Old Highway 63, and other major roads.Second priority roads include smaller streets like University Avenue, Rangeline Street, and Rollins Street.One resident says he is preparing even though he lives on one of those second priority roads. He says his wife dealt with the traffic during the last big snow when even emergency vehicles had trouble.”She said it took like 20 minutes for the ambulance to get them to the hospital,” said Glen O’Neal.Less snow is expected this time around than back in 2011, but residents say unless they are prepared to shovel their way out, they must be prepared to stay home.City plows will not reach residential streets until first and second priority roads are cleared. Emergency officials say if you can stay put when the snow hits, please do so because navigating roadways will be tricky.

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