Green Bay crews gear up for winter weather

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - It's been quite a while since we've had to drive in winter conditions, so motorists are asked to be cautious on Friday with the first significant accumulation of snow.

Green Bay Public Works crews install and test a snowplow on a city truck (WBAY photo)

StormCenter 2 forecasts most of the viewing area will see 1 to 2 inches, but from Green Bay to the Lakeshore, accumulations could grow to 3 to 5 inches of snow.

Crews at the Public Works Department in Green Bay were among those working hard Thursday loading up several tons of salt to keep roads from icing up.

Employees told us their biggest problem was transitioning equipment from fall leaf collection to snow plowing. "It's a challenge, especially when we're jumping from one season to the next overnight," Street Superintendent Tony Fetzer said.

They said December 1 is when they normally prepare for winter, but with the sudden weather change they had to make arrangements sooner.

During a full city snowplow event, between 90 and 100 pieces of equipment are used. Going into this snow event, DPW plans to have 10 salt trucks and 25 plow trucks ready to hit the streets.

"Right now with our ant-icing units out, we have three trucks out on our primaries," Fetzer said, "and what people are going to see right now are the line stripes from our salt brine being placed on our roads."

Fetzer explained, "Eighty percent of the traffic in the city are primary streets. You know, primary streets make up 125 miles, so if we can get those safe and typically in a non-primary street, a residential street, if you go 3 or 4 blocks in any direction you'll hit a primary street. So if we can hit that and get that safe, and have people slow down, and knowing that we might only get 1-2 inches, it should be good."

Crews normally start their shift at 7 a.m., but if the snow starts earlier they say they're ready to go.

Fetzer encourages drivers to do their part by remembering the number-one rule in winter: pump your brakes.

"Big thing is just asking people to change their driving habits from summer mode to the winter mode of being able to slow down and give themselves time."

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