As snow falls, lots of concern over roads in Racine County

RACINE CO. (WITI) -- A Winter Storm Warning took effect, and in southeast Wisconsin on Monday, February 17th, we dealt with another measurable snowfall -- and in Racine County Monday, there were both short-term and long-term concerns about the roads.

The snow began to fall on Monday morning, and continued throughout the day. A total of four to six inches of snow was possible on Monday in southeastern Wisconsin.

In Racine, as in many other areas, the main concern was vehicles and the roadways -- particularly as crews looked to the evening rush hour commute.

The snow was coming down at a pretty good clip for much of the day, and that, combined with the wind, was making things potentially problematic.

Those with the Racine County Department of Public Works were busy on Monday.

"Every person we can put in a truck is in it right now," Mark Yelen, the Racine County Commissioner of Public Works said.

Yelen says crews began salting and plowing early Monday morning. Since nearly seven inches of snow was expected to fall in the area, Yelen said attacking that snow is a 24-hour task.

"They will come in and work a double shift if necessary," Yelen said.

Thankfully, Racine County has enough salt to keep up after stocking up several times this season.

"Fortunately we were able to get some shipments in the last couple of weeks to replenish our supplies. (Monday) morning we had about 3,000 tons of salt. We hope that gets us through the end of the winter," Yelen said.

The focus Monday was the snow cleanup -- plowing and salting, but Yelen says the long-term concern is that many of the roads in Racine County aren't holding up well after this brutal winter.

"The winter is very hard on the streets. The guys that repair the streets are also the guys that drive the snow plows. You can't begin filling potholes when it's snowing. This time of year, the repairs typically don't last that long. This freeze, thaw really tears a road up," Yelen said.

Some drivers fear having to navigate the rough terrain during the height of the storm.

"The roads are in terrible condition. It's dark, and then you get the blowing across the roads. That's a little concerning when you get in the country roads," Rayne Thieme said.

Drivers are being cautioned for many reasons.

"East and west roads are getting blown over because the wind is primarily out of the south. We're getting a lot of vehicles in ditches. They are either hitting a snowdrift where wind is covering, or coming up to an intersection too fast, locking up the brakes and sliding through it," Racine Co. Sheriff's Sgt. David Coughlin said.