Snow and winds creating dangerous road conditions
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Tough weather conditions have forced road closures and no-travel advisories for most of the state. Even in Sioux Falls, drivers were having a tough time Thursday with the snow and wind.
Although Sioux Falls has been spared from much of the blizzard conditions the rest of South Dakota has seen, it’s still a mess out on the roads according to SDDOT Area Engineer Harry Johnston.
“The winds are blowing what little bit of snow we had around, just from the last 24 hours. The snow that we got last week, the rain has actually helped to pack it down. It’s kind of aided us a little bit not having all of that blowing around. But the wind is really having an effect, getting drifts on the highway, different things like that.” Johnston said.
Caution is being asked for by law enforcement and first responders, as the dangerous conditions makes it almost impossible for them to respond to any rescues safely.
“We don’t want people to get caught outside unprepared. That’s probably the biggest thing is, is really getting a sense of the weather, what the driving conditions are going to be like.” SFPD Officer Sam Clemens said.
The South Dakota DOT is acting selective on how they’re treating the roads, as some of the remedies they do have could only make the situation worse.
“We’re not putting down a lot of material right now, because we don’t want to make the roads wet so the snow sticks more.” Johnston said.
The Sioux Falls Area DOT does have a night crew that plows essential roads. But even that is only to make sure emergency vehicles can use them if needed during off hours.
“We have a level of service that we try to maintain. So we try to keep our trucks on the road, to make sure we’re keeping those safe for people during their traveling hours. Especially commutes to and from work.” Johnston said.
So anywhere in the state, Johnston is asking people to stay off the roads. But if you have to be out, go slow and be ready for poor conditions.
“Make sure that you give yourself more time to reach your destination. Check www.sd511.org, to kind of see what the conditions are and see what we’ve listed. We’ve got guys out checking the roads and updating those conditions all of the time.” Johnston said.
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