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Winter weather: Columbia, Jefferson City differ on road clearance procedure

Columbia and Jefferson City have different procedures for clearing roads of snow and ice.

“Columbia has a lot of different rules, we don’t have those,” said Britt Smith, operations division director with Jefferson City Public Works.

Jefferson City trucks are assigned specific areas to clear. Those include neighborhood and cul-de-sacs, as well as larger non-state highways.

“We hit it with everything we got, and get it done as quickly as we possibly can,” Smith said. “”In four hours, we can have those roads in pretty darn good shape.”

To find an actively updated map of Jefferson City roads, click here.

Columbia’s procedures are more complicated.

There are different plans for different scenarios. Directions are outlined on their website that describe what trucks do if there is more or less than 2 or 4 inches of snow. Click here for those details.

If there is more than two inches of snow, cars parked on designated snow routes can be towed at the owners expense. This is to help snow plows clear as much of the road as possible.

If there is more than four inches, then neighborhood routes will not be totally cleared right away.

In that scenario, “We work all of the city streets 24/7 until the priority routes are clear, and the other neighborhood streets are passable,” said Barry Dalton, public information officer for Columbia Public Works.

“Passable” means that most cars would be able to slowly drive on at least one lane of the road. For more on passable roads, click here. Priority routes are handled first to allow access to hospitals, emergency services and business, Dalton said.

Dalton said non-priority roads are cleared after priority roads because of the wide demand for plows across the city.

“There’s 1,350 lane miles of streets, and that includes eleven hundred cul-de-sacs. It’s impossible to clear all those roads,” Dalton said.

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