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      Cole County assesses vehicle damage after storms

      With most of the snow gone, Cole County Public Works took advantage of warm temperatures on Tuesday to repair snow removal equipment and assess roads for flooding and other damage.

      Public works crews looked over 470 miles of roads for issues including potholes and flooding of low-water crossings.

      Public Works Director Larry Benz said Tuesday, crews did find one area completely flooded out on Meadow Ford Road. They are advising residents who live near there not to drive over it until the flood waters have subsided.

      Benz said it's likely the county will sustain more flooding if it rains later this week.

      "Especially with all the rain coming in, they're talking about up to an inch of rain. With the ground saturated already, whatever hits us is probqably going to run off," Benz said. "We'll probably see some flooding on our low-water crossings."

      Benz said mechanics changed the oil in salt trucks and inspected plows for damage Tuesday so that the vehicles will be ready when the next snowstorm hits. Road Superintendant Larry Bishop said staff examine each vehicle for a variety of problems between storms.

      "Broken plows, pieces that are broke on the plows," Bishop said. "They'll check the springs, the bolts on the tires, things like that."

      Public works staff said fixing their vehicles is a full-time job. They have three mechanics on staff who look after all of the vehicles. Bishop said their job is important because as the weather gets warmer, public works will use the vehicles to perform other duties.

      When it gets warm out, salt truck drivers will become concrete pourers and road graders. Almost everyone who works at Cole County Public Works has more than one job to perform, depending on the season.

      Benz said vehicle maintainence is key to being prepared for all types of weather.