Stay off icy roads, Macon-Bibb, Houston officials say

January 28, 2014 

Area residents should stay off local roads whenever possible, Macon-Bibb and Houston County officials said, concerned that Wednesday morning’s snow would re-freeze into ice on streets and sidewalks Thursday.

“It’s going to be just as dangerous tomorrow with the ice,” Macon-Bibb Public Affairs Director Chris Floore said Wednesday afternoon.

Houston County Emergency Management Agency Director Jimmy Williams noted, “If you don’t have to be out, don’t be out.”

Emergency workers, law enforcement and Macon-Bibb staff conferred Wednesday afternoon at the Emergency Management Agency bunker next to Government Center on Poplar Street. Multiple big-screen TVs hung on two walls, showing weather reports, maps, and live video of nearly empty major streets.

A similar meeting was held in Houston County at E-911 headquarters in Warner Robins where officials heard the latest on the weather.

Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Agency Director Don Druitt said teams salted all overpasses at least three times in the previous 24 hours, then hit major intersections.

Public Works crews finished salting local roads Wednesday morning and still had plenty of salt left to handle a re-freeze, Floore said. Houston County public crews were also out Wednesday salting roads.

By about noon Wednesday, the only road closing in Macon-Bibb was a stretch of Columbus Road near Harvard Avenue, where a car had hit a fire hydrant. No road closures were reported in Houston County.

Macon-Bibb’s five salt trucks were scheduled to go out again at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The rest of the Macon-Bibb government will reopen at noon Thursday, officials decided. Houston County and Warner Robins and Perry city employees are expected to report at noon, while Centerville employees are expected at 1 p.m. Thursday, government leaders said.

Employees of the Macon Housing Authority should report to work at noon on Thursday, said June Parker, MHA executive director.

Also, Robins Air Force Base is expected to be on a delayed, staggered schedule Thursday, Williams said.

While some rural and side roads may still have ice at midday, the temperature should rise above freezing and help clear most streets, Floore said.

“We’re asking people to be here by noon if possible, but practice caution,” he said.

All emergency-response personnel will remain on call, Floore said. In a news release sent out shortly afterward, government employees were asked to call their supervisors Thursday morning if they had doubts about making it in.

“Macon-Bibb drivers are not familiar or practiced with driving in these types of conditions, and I want to encourage people to not drive unless required,” Mayor Robert Reichert said in the statement. “Our thanks go to the personnel that have been patrolling the streets, been on standby for emergencies, have staffed the Emergency Operations Center, and have salted our bridges and intersections to help keep our community safe.”

Macon-Bibb garbage pickup is planned to resume Thursday afternoon, one day behind the regular schedule; those scheduled for Wednesday pickup will have trash removed Thursday, while those who usually get Thursday pickup should get it Friday.

With warmer tempertatures on the horizon, Williams is hopeful the region will soon be “out of the woods” and possible even as early as Thursday afternoon.

The weekend forecast calls for temperatures to climb into the 60s on Saturday and into the 70s Sunday, he said.

To report dangerous road conditions in Macon-Bibb, call 478-751-7500.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489. To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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