Icy roads greet Webster County drivers Tuesday Slipping and sliding

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen A motorist makes their way up the Veterans Memorial Bridge on First Avenue South Tuesday afternoon as a layer of ice continues to coat the sidewalk and railings after the early morning freezing rain.

Residents in Fort Dodge awoke to slick roads Tuesday as freezing rain turned to snow and covered the roadways.

The weather caused the public and parochial schools in Fort Dodge, as well as Iowa Central Community College, to cancel classes for the day.

Webster County Engineer Randy Will said crews began clearing the roads at 6 a.m., starting with the paved roads and moving to the gravel roads.

“Our goal there (on the gravel roads) is to cut the ice and rough them up so there’s traction,” Will said. “That’s what we’re doing now.”

He said the county roads and city roads were both icy.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Will said crews were heading back out to make sure all the ice had been taken care of.

“I think we’re going to be OK,” Will said. “I’m sure there’s going to be a few challenging spots, probably on the gravel roads, but as a whole, most of the roads will be reasonable to drive on.”

He added that many of the problems on the roads were caused by the constantly-changing weather Tuesday.

“It started off real icy and the weather had a personality today where it was ice and the temperature dropped on the paved roads and it started to build up a layer of slush and ice,” he said.

“We’re doing the best we can,” Will added. “And I think we’ve made a lot of improvements since 6 this morning.”

Fort Dodge Police Lt. Matt Wilson said at one point, the Kenyon Road Bridge, the Karl King Viaduct and the Hawkeye Avenue Bridge were closed.

“We had to close off the bridges until we could get them sanded,” Wilson said, but added they were opened up fairly quickly.

He added that there were several accidents reported in the city, but none serious.

Sheriff Jim Stubbs said his deputies responded to a few drivers that had problems, but not a large amount.

“There weren’t that many,” he said. “The biggest thing when it’s like this is to allow more time to travel, because it’s just going to take more time.”

That statement was echoed by Wilson.

“It’s icy,” he said. “but if people take their time they should be able to get where they need to go.”

The icy road conditions also caused some issues in the surrounding counties.

Law enforcement in Hamilton, Sac, Humboldt and Pocahontas counties all reported accidents, but none of them were serious.

Kossuth and Palo Alto counties each received reports of vehicles going into ditches.

And in Calhoun County, it was reported wind blew a semitrailer truck into a ditch. Despite being blown over, no injuries were reported in the accident.

Melinda Beerends, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Des Moines, said the first reports of ice and snow came in around 5 a.m.

Though precipitation totals won’t be reported until today, Beerends said the rest of the week should mostly remain dry.

“There may be a flurry or something (today),” Beerends said. “But any precipitation, at least during the day, would be just north and maybe east.”

This evening, there is a chance of light snow into the overnight hours, but Beerends said Thursday looks like it will be dry.

Messenger reporter Joe Sutter contributed to this story.