Colorado

Jan 31, 2014 11:45 PM by Tony Spehar

Snow storm, traffic and plow troubles make for rough commute Friday evening

A heavy band of snow during rush hour and icy conditions hours afterward made for an ugly commute home on Friday night in Colorado Springs.

Across the city some intersections and streets had to be shutdown as tires spun and cars struggled to get up hillsides. At Southgate Rd. and Lake Ave. the main road into many homes was impassable because of ice.

"Wow, I can't believe it, I didn't think that this was going to happen, I've been driving this whole winter and I've never seen this happen." said Maria Silva, who was stuck at her home. "I was born out in California, I've never been around the snow."

The storm was expected, but many drivers weren't expecting so many problems. Colorado Springs Street Operations Manager Jeremy Reichert explained that plow crews faced numerous problems due to the timing of the storm, supply problems and equipment issues.

"Snow kind of came in a wave during the middle of rush hour and that creates problems for us to treat," Reichert described. "Because as folks are stuck in rush hour our operations are also stuck in rush hour."

Increased demand across Colorado and the country has lead to shortage of anti-icing and de-icing materials. Reichert said the city is working with another vendor of the materials to increase their supply.

"That makes it challenging, so we need to be very cautious and strategic on how we place those materials and when we place them," he explained.

There were also mechanical issues with some of the city's trucks, which meant their fleet was diminished during the worst of the storm. However, some drivers kept a positive view of Friday's snow.

"I've lived here all my live, I was born here and this is so wonderful, this could happen every week and I would be thrilled all winter long," said Eileen Armstrong, who ventured out on Friday to stock-up for the Super Bowl. "Because this is what's supposed to happen, this is it!"

City crews urged everyone to stay-off the roads overnight and into Saturday morning to give plows a chance to clear up the worst problem areas.

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