City of Eau Claire battles winter weather conditions

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The winter weather has Eau Claire workers and drivers battling the elements.

Since early this morning the Eau Claire City Maintenance department has been out in full force clearing the main roads.

“We've got right around 18 trucks plowing right now, keeping the main arteries open,” explained street fleet manager Steve Thompson.

The department says plows will continue clearing 86 miles of the city's main roads for around the next 20 hours.

“It's important to keep these main arterials cleaned off as much as possible so that emergency vehicles, such as the fire and police department, can respond to emergencies and to get people back close to their neighborhoods,” said Thompson.

Despite their best efforts the Eau Claire Police Department says this weather has still led to an increase in traffic incidents.

Officer Kyle Roder said, “We saw a large number of crashes and slide-ins today already. We anticipate more. The schools are starting to close, and people will be traveling for the holidays, although we advise against it if you don't have to be.”

Since midnight the police department says there have been ten crashes, two stalled vehicles, and six reports of vehicles in ditches.

So to prevent more crashes Roder is asking drivers to use common sense.

“Move over, slow down, be safe,” added Roder. “You're going to get where you're going but you can't risk going too fast and sliding into the ditch or causing an accident.”

The snow also led to early school closures including a two hour early release at the Eau Claire School district and the Altoona School District.

There were also school closures at Fall Creek and Thorp.

The city maintenance department says it will continue to monitor conditions and deploy additional resources as needed.

Then after the main snow has fallen the city will begin focusing on clearing residential roads.

The city says it is also currently conserving salt on the roads given the expense but will use more salt once the snow has stopped to clean up the streets.

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