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Icy sidewalks take toll on locals: fall-related injuries come in bunches

(WEAU)
Published: Jan. 17, 2017 at 6:19 PM CST
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Last night, glare ice took over roads and sidewalks in the area. People were falling, and they were falling a lot, proving costly for many in the area.

As it gets a bit colder throughout the night Tuesday, the sidewalks might get icy again, so be careful if you’re out and about walking around. But Monday night’s ice-infested sidewalks proved to be costly for several people in Eau Claire.

Shoveling and salting the sidewalks was on the mind of many people in the area after glare ice took them over Monday night. The result: close to 40 ice-related injuries reported at local Eau Claire hospitals just Monday night. Most of the injuries were arm, leg, hip, and head injuries.

“Everyone was walking in the streets because it was so bad,” Cassie Okamoto of Eau Claire said.

Karen Taylor, who has been walking the streets of Eau Claire on a daily basis for over 10 years, saw just how bad the sidewalks were Monday night.

“I know last night it was bad,” Taylor said. “I put my foot out on my deck and it was just a sheet of ice and my son couldn’t get up the driveway.”

The roads were slick too; the State Patrol says 72 slide-ins and 26 crashes happened Monday night and into Tuesday: slick is an understatement.

“Yesterday for sure,” Okamoto said. “It was like an ice rink. It was pretty wild. I haven’t seen anyone fall yet, but it was just glare ice everywhere.”

Taylor says the sidewalks are a bit sloppy still, but she says the city has been doing a solid job of clearing them so far this year.

“We usually just walk the bike trail and then around Phoenix Park, they’ve been beautiful,” Taylor said. “You can trust the city sidewalks more than people’s personal sidewalks, as far as being shoveled and being nice to walk on.”

For Aaron Schmitt, who works for University Area Housing shoveling snow and salting sidewalks, he’s just out there doing his job.

“For the snow, it’s a lot of shoveling, a lot of work,” Schmitt said. “And then last night, with the ice and the rain, it’s been a lot of work keeping maintained. We’re working hard and getting it done.”

Eau Claire County Highway Commissioner, Jon Johnson, says plows will be out clearing roads and throwing salt and sand to make sure they’re safe for school buses Wednesday morning.