Snowstorm leads to chaos on Super Bowl Sunday

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Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 4.00.57 PMBy Kellie Van Maele Ingham County Chronicle

INGHAM COUNTY – After nearly a foot of snow blanketed the streets of Ingham County, the road department had a very large feat to tackle on Super Bowl Sunday.

“Yes, we certainly felt prepared for the storm,” said Bill Conklin, managing director of the Ingham County road department. “Although there was not much television coverage giving warning of the storm, we were well aware of what to expect.”

Even though the Super Bowl was on that night, Conklin was confident that his workers would still report to work.

“We did not have a problem getting people to come in and work,” Conklin said, “My staff knew that the storm was coming and they know it’s their duty to keep the roads as safe as possible.”

Plowing began Sunday at 9 a.m. when the snow started to accumulate. The trucks were out all day until 6 p.m., which allowed the road department to tackle a large portion of the snow removal, Conklin said.

“By 4 a.m. on Monday morning we had all 40 trucks out and scheduled 16-hour shifts,” Conklin said. “By 8 p.m. on Monday evening we had nearly everything done.”
With the state Capitol, several school districts and Michigan State University being closed, there were thousands of people counting on the road department.

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“I think the roads department did a great job,” Christy Stehouwer, engagement center assistant at Michigan State University said. “It was a lot of snow so it wasn’t just about plowing the roads, it was about where to put all of the plowed snow.”

Despite the several work and school closings, Michigan State University freshman Claire Raymundo was determined to make it to her first day of work on Monday.

“I was just starting my new route off campus,” Raymundo said. “There was still a lot of snow on the roads so they were still very slippery.”

Raymundo knew she had to drive cautiously, but that was not enough to keep her out of danger.

“I was coming up to an intersection and the light was red,” Raymundo said. “I started braking, but the van continued to slip. I slid right into the intersection of oncoming traffic and a car hit the right side of the van.”

No one was injured, but Raymundo learned that despite the efforts of the Ingham County road department, the roads were still not safe at the time she drove to work.

“I know there was a lot of snow, but I feel like the road department could have been more efficient,” Raymundo said.

Conklin said the department did as much preparation as possible to keep the roads safe.

“As I said, we were well prepared,” Conklin said. “It was chaotic, but we were determined to get the job done.”

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