Kearney City Officials say Only Warmer Temps can Clear Dangerous Icy Roads


Inches of thick, packed ice line the streets of Kearney since last Wednesday's snowstorm, causing treacherous driving conditions and multiple accidents, and leaving many people asking what's being done to fix the problem.

"We put down a lot of salt after the storm when we had the snowpack, and then last weekend when the temperatures came up a little bit, the sun came out, we got good reaction -- good melt time," City of Kearney Director of Public Works Rod Wiederspan said. "Unfortunately, it wasn't long enough to where the traffic could beat it all off, so now we've got a lot of ice on the roads that unfortunately it's pretty tough to get it off."

So tough, officials say, even their most powerful machines can't make a dent.

"Nothing can get that ice down below, nothing will peel it up, and it's just the way it is," City of Kearney Street Superintendent Roger Petersen said. "It's just packed on so hard, you can't even peel it up with motor graders hardly."

And officials say, unless we get some warmer weather, the roads won't be improving anytime soon.

"The roads aren't as nice as we would like to have them obviously," Wiederspan said. "We're doing everything we can, the crews are out working on them. But until we get some warm weather and some sunshine-- be cautious and take your time."

Wiederspan says temperatures are the issue -- not budgeting.

"We don't have any budget issue as far as not having enough money to move it [the snow]," he said, "it's just an issue that it's so cold that the chemicals we have won't melt it."

The city keeps thousands of tons of salt on hand, and officials say crews will be out on the streets until their work is done.

"They'll work until we get done," Petersen said. "Until the snow ends and we've got the streets salted. You just don't know -- every storm's different, every situation's different -- you don't know until you finish."

But until roads are clear, Petersen says people need to exercise extreme caution taking to the roads.

"Make sure you put your car in neutral, tap on your brakes," he said, "when you're coming up to an intersection, slow down way before. Make sure if you're going to be turning, slowing down, turn on your blinkers, and just prepare for it being slick."