Here in Northeast Wisconsin, we've had snow several times a week for the past month or so. Each time, cars end up sliding into the ditch or a guard rail. Public works crews use the time between storms to repair the damage, but with the back to back storms, they are having a hard time keeping up.
Wooden posts snapped like toothpicks, sheets of metal crumpled like aluminum foil.
"We're always, it seems like, repairing some guardrail somewhere," says Robert Bousley Brown County Public Works director of operations.
In the aftermath of back to back winter storms, Brown County public works is trying to keep up with a list of casualties that just keeps getting longer.
"We've got about 15 or 20 on the schedule to do and this is just one of them." says Bousley.
An average of 3 to 4 guardrails take a beating from motorists every time it snows.
"The curves around the ramps especially on Hwy 41, I-43, Hwy 172 and that's where the majority of the guardrails get hit," says Bousley.
It happens so often, they've created a metal casing to hold the posts attached to the guardrail so they are easier to replace. The wooden posts all have holes in the bottom of them to create a weak spot. That's because these posts are supposed to break to absorb impact.
"The guardrail helps keep people out of the ditch, but they are also designed to absorb energy to keep people from getting hurt," says Bousley.
Repairing the guardrail at County Road X and Hwy 96 took workers most of the day and cost thousands of dollars.
The bill will be sent to the motorist who did the damage. It's just one more reason to drive slowly when it snows.
"Because 1: it's for their safety. But 2: it might help their pocket book down the road as well," says Bousley.
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