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      Cole Co. crews prepare for more winter weather

      A Cole County Public Works snow plow fills with salt ahead of Tuesday's storm.

      Cole County Public Works crews are preparing for the next blast of winter weather to hit mid-Missouri.

      Larry Bishop, the road superintendent at Cole County Public Works, says their salt supply is good for now, but running slightly lower than at this time in past years.

      "It's not off the norm too much, but it is a little quicker than what years past have been. Usually we'll make it through and then we'll order at the end of the year to restock the building, but this year we had to order a little faster than we wanted to," Bishop said.

      One reason is that winter weather hit mid-Missouri earlier this year than in the past. Another is that there is a higher frequency of winter weather (not necessarily accumulation totals) than last year.

      "We've had these little systems that keep coming through and they take almost as much material as a big storm does," Bishop said.

      The snow plow drivers usually work 12-hour shifts, with part-time workers coming in to relieve them overnight from the sometimes treacherous conditions.

      "Sometimes [it's] extremely dangerous. This last time with the ice...when we were [working] I think the City of Jefferson crashed at least two trucks and I know we put at least three in the ditch," Clifford Lepper, the Cole Count Public Works assistant road superintendent, said.

      But this past weekend's snow and ice might actually help road treatment for the next round.

      "There's quite a bit of material that's been put on the roads, so hopefully there's some residue and salt still left out there that will help us when the snow starts," Bishop said.