Officials ask for patience with roads

No major incidents over weekend

T-R PHOTO BY SUSANNA MEYER East Main Street was covered in snow on Saturday morning after Friday’s storm. Business owners were digging out their storefronts as plows cleared the road.



A winter wonderland visited Iowa on Friday and into the early hours of Saturday morning, with a reported eight inches of snow touching down in Marshalltown and totals as high as 14.3 inches in Des Moines.

Generally, with large amounts of snow – this is the biggest snowfall of the 2021-22 winter so far – a major increase in accidents is inevitable, but Marshalltown Police Sergeant Tom Watson said things went about as expected without a huge rise in crashes.

“We’ve had maybe a couple minor accidents,” Watson said. “We’ve had a lot of motorist assists, where people get stuck in the snow on the side streets in particular. We’ve had a lot of those.”

In the instances of motorists adrift, the MPD can help vehicles out of snow banks if needed or do whatever is necessary to get passengers and travelers home safely.

According to Watson, the MPD also received a number of calls about people blowing snow or shoveling snow across the street or into other yards, a common complaint after major storms.

He made a point to remind residents of the city’s ordinance and said they are still in the education phase because this was the first big snow of the season. Following the ordinances, he said, will assist the plowing crews that come through, as plows can get damaged by running over frozen snow pushed into the road.

Some roads in Marshalltown were still not plowed by Saturday afternoon and into Sunday, and Marshall County Engineer Paul Geilenfeldt said it was still a work in progress. Many factors are at play when assessing how quickly all roads can be plowed, Geilenfeldt added, and he asked for patience, understanding and caution from travelers.

“It depends on temperatures, and we need a little sun. We use a lot of salt and sand, but if it’s under 15 degrees, the salt really doesn’t work because saltwater can freeze,” Geilenfeldt said. “We just need the patience because we can’t get every road in one day. We might get them just one way depending on the storm. It may just be a pass-through where there’s not two-way traffic. So people have to still be patient and slow it down.”

Marshall County Sheriff Joel Phillips echoed Geilenfeldt’s call for patience and caution and said most of the county’s main highways are cleared and OK for driving. Nevertheless, he noted, some secondary roads were still impassable due to snow coverage.

Phillips thanked Marshall County residents for mostly staying in and heeding the county’s warnings preceding the storm. Apart from an incident on Highways 96 and 14 involving a commercial vehicle that had to be removed, he said motorists used proper caution. He asked that they continue to be careful, particularly at night with the potential for precipitation to refreeze.

“I’d call ahead to your destination, if you’re going to a family member’s house, just to make sure the roads are open, and snow has been removed,” Phillips said.


Contact Noah Rohlfing at 641-753-6611 or smeyer@timesrepublican.com.


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