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Liberty road crews out in force ready for inclement weather

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LIBERTY, Mo. -- Eight hundred tons of salt. That's some of what a 21-member crew in Liberty, Mo., is working with to offset the dangers of impending winter weather on Missouri roads.

"We don't know what form it's going to come in right now," Steve Hansen, director of Liberty Public Works Department, said. "We'll get the word from our weather forecaster a little prior to then. That way, we can have a little bit better idea when we call people back and send them into the streets."

Hansen's staff has 20 trucks ready to hit the road, some of which have gear designed to handle the heaviest of snowfalls.

"According to what I'm hearing, we could get anywhere from one to four inches of snow," Hansen said. "I think it's typically three, but they say isolated at four. That could be anywhere in the metropolitan area."

Hansen's staff began pre-treating streets early on Wednesday. He said trouble usually happens in the morning hours, when the sun melts snow on the streets while the ground is still cold.

"They can freeze very easily, and people don't always see that, and we're not aware of those until we actually see them," Hansen said.

His staff is using a pre-treating solution made mostly of beet juice. The acidic qualities of the pretreatment are corrosive to ice and snow, but more environmentally friendly. Liberty is one of a couple of local cities using beet juice to beat winter. The City of Liberty Spokesperson Sara Cooke said the city depends on the guys in the trucks.

"They're out in all kinds of inclement weather," she said. "They do go out and pre-treat. We are indebted to them. They help us get to work on time. They do a fantastic job."

Cooke said the city's Public Works Department serves over 60,000 people within the Liberty School District.

Hansen praises his staff, pointing to last winter's unpredictable weather, saying his workers handled it well and will again this year too.