Lexington police say roads are 'pretty bad,' advise residents to avoid driving

jwarren@herald-leader.comFebruary 3, 2014 

Take a tour of Lexington's streets early Monday after the latest storm dumped 4-5 inches in much of Central Kentucky. Herald-Leader reporters and photographer Charles Bertram captured the videos.

KENTUCKY.COM

Main streets and roads in Lexington were improving late Monday morning, but many secondary roads and subdivision streets remained slushy and sloppy, officials said.

Acting Streets and Roads director Albert Miller said that as of mid-morning, road crews were "making progress" in clearing the roadways.

"The main arteries are starting to clear," Miller said, "and we're beginning to see some pavement. Other streets are still snow-covered and icy."

Also Monday, city officials said trash collection was cancelled Monday. Collection routes will resume Wednesday, weather permitting.

Rob Allen, acting deputy director of streets and roads, said salt applied to streets overnight was starting work.

"The temperature is right at 27 degrees, which is perfect because the salt will work without additives," he said. "If we get just a little bit of sunshine, it will really help."

Weather forecasters predict that the overcast will break up and allow some sun to show through later Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, an Allegiant Air flight from Florida had to wait almost two hours Monday to unload passengers at Blue Grass Airport, apparently because of other planes waiting to be de-iced.

An Allegiant spokeswoman said the flight landed at 9:57 a.m. but wasn't able to deplane passengers until about 11:27 a.m.

Airport spokeswoman Louise Bowden said the problem resulted from a backup among planes that were waiting to be de-iced before taking off.

All runways and taxiways at the airport are open, Bowden said.

The slippery road conditions kept Lexington police busy throughout the morning. Officers had worked 30 non-injury accidents and two injury accidents as of 10 a.m., city officials said.

Allen said plow trucks were working the most important thoroughfares, pushing away the slush. Other crews were working into neighborhoods and subdivisions, he said.

"Parts of downtown look OK; Versailles Road is starting to look good," he said.

But with the focus on priority roads, some secondary streets might not have received attention yet, Allen said.

Earlier in the morning, streets were snow-covered and slick in many spots, with drivers struggling to get up hills, according to Lexington police.

Allen said city road crews were hampered overnight because the storm began as rain. That made it impossible for trucks to pre-treat roads with salt because it would have quickly washed off, Allen said.

"All we could do with it raining was wait," he said. "Once it changed from rain to snow, we started treating rural roads out into the county and our priority roads. It probably didn't really start to snow until midnight."

Interstates caused the most traffic headaches in the Lexington area, but they also were improving by late Monday morning, police said.

The Interstate 75 exit ramp at Athens-Boonesboro Road was closed for a time shortly after 7 a.m. because of three to five tractor-trailer rigs that became stuck.

Kentucky State Police at the Richmond post said I-75 remained slick in spots, but traffic was moving with no major backups. Troopers were patrolling the interstate to assist motorists where necessary, police said.

Farther north, state police at the Dry Ridge post said I-75 was clear, although secondary roads in the area generally remained snow-covered and slippery.

Lt. Raymond Roller said Lexington police had extra officers on the streets to help deal with the conditions.

"We're trying to help everybody wherever we can," he said.

"We continue to encourage people to stay off the streets if at all possible so that the street crews can continue with their work," Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said.

Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255.

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