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December 27, 2012

Crews working round the clock

NORMAN — Residents still encouraged to drive cautiously

With Tuesday’s overnight temperatures dipping into the teens and windchills below zero, road clearing and traveling safety Wednesday morning was less than ideal after treated roads refroze.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation discouraged travel in southern portions of the state, as highways remained snow-packed with patches of ice throughout most of Oklahoma.

In Norman, crews focused on emergency service locations like hospitals and the most high-traffic areas the day after Christmas: shopping districts.

“We’ve been working around the clock since Monday and will continue to do so until further notice,” said Shawn O’Leary, Norman public works director. “We feel like we’re pretty caught up and we’ve focused on high commercial areas such as Ed Noble Parkway.”

Major roadways treated with salt Tuesday benefited greatly from the early intervention, and road crews were optimistic that Wednesday’s sunny weather would help speed up the process of de-icing.

“Smaller, local streets are still a problem, but with today’s sunshine, we’ll be out of the woods,” O’Leary said.

Travelers are still urged to use extra caution, as patches of ice and melted areas from Wednesday afternoon will refreeze Wednesday night.

“Roads shaded by trees are still retaining ice, even though we used lots of sand in those areas,” District 3 County Commissioner Rusty Sullivan said.

O’Leary and Sullivan emphasized that shoppers should be especially cautious in parking lots, as privately owned shopping centers may not treat pavement in parking lot traffic lanes, and surfaces will likely be slick all day.

Lance Terry, city of Norman communications manager, said as of Wednesday afternoon, police responded to six injury accidents, five non-injury accidents, five motorists assists and one medical call for a person falling on the ice.

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