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MASON CITY, Iowa - Icy and snowy conditions made for dangerous travel across our viewing area Friday morning, especially in Mason City. Authorities tell KIMT they think the slick condition caught drivers off guard.
The ice actually prevented people from driving over the 12th Street bridge in Mason City around 7:30 am. Cars were backed up almost a mile at one point as they waited for the sander to come.
Even your average intersection like 1st Street and North Monroe Avenue were backed up simply because it was hard for people to get moving and stop.
According to the Mason City Police Log, from midnight to 8:00 Friday morning police responded to five property damage collisions. That is not including the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office or Iowa State Patrol.
A truck slid into the ditch and ended up on its top on Thrush Avenue. Cerro Gordo county authorities tell me they believe the driver is okay but they left the scene and have not submitted a report. There will be an investigation to determine whether charges will be filed.
A few hours later a vehicle hit a power pole on 12th Street. Our reporter on scene spoke with the driver who says she could not brake and slid into it. She is not hurt.
Now crews are out spreading sand and improving conditions for drivers.
Terri Atkinson commutes from Nora Springs to Mason City for work, and noticed the slick conditions on her way into town.
"When we do have big snows, they do clean them off. They're out on the roads really early and stuff, but like this morning, I didn't really see anybody out cleaning up the roads."
William Stangler is the operations and maintenance manager for the City of Mason City, and says that the city can't pre-treat or treat whole stretches of streets because they don't have the necessary equipment.
"We do not have a brine tank and we do not have the ability with our equipment to dump brine, so therefore we do not have brine tanks on our equipment."
Stangler adds that there is a limited amount of resources.
"Material is kind of a limited supply for most cities. We don't have an unlimited amount of materials so that's why we focus on treating intersections and occasionally we'll end up treating alleys. It depends on the type of storm, depends if we get rain, freezing rain events."
"We really don't have a lot of problems with the way we've been doing it. There's always occasions when we'd like to dump more material, but what we tend to do is just run it off the belts of our trucks."
Whether the roads are treated or not, and regardless of how much snow falls, Stangler advises drivers to exercise caution.
"We want everybody to get where they're going and get back home safely."
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