11/11/2019- If the long-range outlook holds true, we’re in for a snowy winter in our region and Marinette County’s Highway Department is already gearing up to take on the task of keeping roadways clear and residents safe. Highway Commissioner Eric Burmeister released a winter road maintenance policy from the department last week and says it isn’t meant to signify any real changes in salting and plowing operations, but it does offer more clarity on how the department operates so schools, busing companies, and the public can be better informed when making decisions about if or when to hit the road after a snow or ice event.
“Our number one goal is to do all the winter operations between our hours of operation: 7 in the morning until 3 p.m. However, if there’s significant snow or accumulating snow forecasted, we’re going to try to be out on the road by 4:00 in the morning. If snow is continuing to fall, we’ll continue to do operations until as late as 8:00 at night, but at 8:00 we’re going to shut down and we’re going to give our operators an operational recovery period.”
Burmeister says this operational recovery period is critical to the health and safety of the snow plow drivers. He says while his department will do everything they can to keep roadways free of snow and ice, drivers still need to practice safe winter driving habits. Following a trio of snowplow-related accidents last year, he’s urging motorists to keep their speed in check and use extra caution this season.
“If they know that there’s forecasted snow and they’re commuting to work, they should leave a little early. The largest cause of accidents during adverse weather conditions is speed. Last year we had three Mondays in a row, on (US) 41, we had a snowplow involved in a rear-end accident where the motorists didn’t see the snowplow until it was right on top of it and then couldn’t stop and rear-ended the snowplow. 
Forecasters are calling for a “polar coaster” across the Midwest this winter, with very cold temps predicted to last into February and early and then consistent snowfall throughout the season.