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State, city crews prepare to stay ahead of winter storm

INDOT and Indy's DPW have their road crews ready to tackle the snow forecast for Wednesday.

INDIANAPOLIS — The timing of this latest winter storm isn't good, with much of it hitting during the morning commute.

It's why the day before serious snowfall in Indy, the scramble is on to ready the roads.

“It’s the calm before the storm, quite literally," said INDOT public relations director Kyleigh Cramer.

"This snow's going to be unique in the sense we'll see a lot of snow fall really quickly," said Indianapolis Department of Public Works director Brandon Herget.

Even with that big burst right in the morning rush, Cramer has raw enthusiasm for the elements.

“I love snow! I’m from up north. I love snow," she said with a laugh.

For this storm, she has reason to.

Warmer temps mean snow will be easier to clear, compared to the ice we saw in December.

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"And the best part is, we really don’t have to pre-treat too much. So we don’t plan on brining, because it’s really going to turn ultimately into slush right away," Cramer explained.

Still, it will pile up.

So state and city crews will use a mountain of salt, machines and manpower to keep us safe. That includes seven highway tow plows that act like big brooms clearing snow in one big push.

"That allows us to salt and plow two lanes of roadway at one time," Cramer said. "So that’s a very effective and efficient tool, especially on 465.” 

"Being alongside the highway is dangerous anywhere you are but if you add snow or ice into that mix, that's potentially deadly," said Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine. "And that's not only for first responders, if you slide off the road or you're involved in a minor crash your first priority and the main thing you should be thinking is how can I be safe? The safest thing is likely to stay in your car with your seatbelt on until emergency responders arrive."

The push Tuesday all across the city was all about preparation.

Meals on Wheels suspended its routes Wednesday because of the winter storm. So as meal deliveries went out Tuesday, they encouraged people to use the 400 emergency food kits they passed out, making sure clients are cared for.

“I mean, that’s the ultimate concern is safety," said Pat Sebanc with Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana.

Safety for road crews is a numbers game.

INDOT plows will roll out at 8 p.m. and continue through 8 a.m., covering 60 routes. DPW crews will start 12-hour shifts beginning at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

They're both covering hundreds of miles and asking all of us to stay cautious.

"Rush hour could be messy, so we're encouraging people to work from home if you can," Herget said. "If you have to go out do your best to let our folks clear our plows. they're going to get out there, they're going to be on the streets clearing as quick as they can. There's going to be a lot of snow, a lot to keep up with."

If you'd like to track the progress of plow and salt trucks with Indianapolis DPW, check the Indy Snow Force Viewer here.

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