City road crews scrambling to keep up with icy roads

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Nope, nothing funny about slipping on ice, but … polar bears!

MANCHESTER, NH – As a cold rain continued to pellet city streets Tuesday, road conditions remained sloppy.

Mayor Joyce Craig and Public Works Director Kevin Sheppard say the city is trying to keep up with the kind of weather than undermines road crews’ best efforts to keep roads free of ice.

Beginning Monday night at around 8 p.m., city roads began to ice up and Manchester’s DPW began calling in employees for salting, says Sheppard. Crews remained out throughout the night and will continue to be out until the roads are safe.

“The salt is effective, but the rain washes it away, meaning roads continued to re-freeze and needed multiple treatments. As usual, I believe our crews reacted in a timely manner, but the weather conditions were difficult,” Sheppard said.

Because trash collection crews are hopping off and on to trucks, they city has delayed refuse collections Tuesday until conditions improve, but Sheppard hopes to have trucks out as soon as the temperatures rise and roads are clearing.

“Safety of our employees is always our first priority,” Sheppard said.

Mayor Joyce Craig said Tuesday that crews will continue to monitor road conditions and pay special attention to sidewalks around city schools. She said DPW worked hard to keep up against unusually challenging weather conditions. 

Manchester Police department logged 89 accidents between 8 p.m. Monday and 4 a.m. Tuesday.

According to Accuweather, rain was expected to taper off by afternoon, but the National Weather Service has also initiated a flood watch for the area, due to the continued rainfall, ice jams, river rise and snow melt associated with higher temperatures, reaching the mid-50s by Tuesday afternoon.

Craig released the following statement late Tuesday afternoon:

Municipal crews were out last night and throughout the day today salting and sanding the roads. Currently, temperatures have risen and the rain has subsided, making road conditions much more safe and passable at this time.

The Department of Public Works is coordinating with the Police Department and is monitoring the weather overnight in case of a potential refreeze of the roadways. Trucks will be out tonight addressing any complaints and concerns, and more trucks will be out at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning to address issues prior to the morning commute. Sidewalk tractors will also be clearing downtown and school sidewalks at 4 a.m. Should the weather or road conditions warrant additional equipment, they will be called in.

“Despite difficult weather conditions, our crews have worked hard to keep our roads safe and passable,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “Rain, coupled with freezing temperatures, meant the salt distributed on the roadways was getting washed away, causing the roads to re-freeze. Multiple road treatments were necessary to ensure the ice was completely melting.”

“We had a few city vehicles involved in accidents last night, but all of those involved are safe. I would remind everyone to continue to use caution while driving on roads or walking on sidewalks and watch for changing road conditions.”

The Department of Public Works is asking residents to help prevent street flooding by keeping storm drains clear of debris, snow and ice. In addition, sand is available to Manchester residents to utilize on their properties or on sidewalks. Sand can be collected at the Municipal Complex on Lincoln Street. Quantities are limited and it is not for commercial use.

Major concerns  regarding the safety of the roadways can be directed to the Highway Department at 603-624-6444


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Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!