City, county focus on clearing roads

By Galen Holley / NEMS Daily Journal



TUPELO – The heaviest snowfall in more than 40 years brought the All-America City to a near standstill Monday as city and county officials worked to clear roads and make travel safe.
Personnel with Tupelo’s Public Works Department started salting major thoroughfares at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in anticipation of the snow, which by Monday afternoon had accumulated to six inches at Tupelo Regional Airport.
Early Monday morning the department’s four snow plows began clearing major thoroughfares, like Gloster Street, Main Street and McCullough Boulevard, then drivers worked their way into the secondary roads and neighborhoods, doing their best to cover the more than 300 miles of road within the city limits.
“The more we can get off the roads before the temperatures start dropping and it starts re-freezing, the better off we’ll be,” Public Works Director Sid Russell said early Monday afternoon as plows and salt trucks continued to course throughout the city.
By mid-morning the city’s major arteries were relatively clear, although the smaller streets in some neighborhoods were still covered, along with parking lots, which Russell said had to come after the roadways.
Lee County workers also got an early start Monday, hitting the roads at 3 a.m. with plows and tons of manufactured sand.
More than 150 bridges and 800 miles of road had to be covered, and according to Tim Allred, road manager for the Lee County Board of Supervisors, by 11 a.m. workers had covered about 80 percent of their territory.
Major thoroughfares took top priority, like C.R. 681 near Saltillo, as well as Auburn Road and Palmetto Road.
Allred felt good about the work his folks had done as of late morning Monday, but he was concerned about what the next 24 hours might bring.
Allred said the work would continue until around 4 p.m., then resume again in the early morning hours of Tuesday.
During a press conference Monday afternoon at the Public Works Department, Johnny Timmons, manager of the Tupelo Water and Light Department, reported no power outages since the weather set in Sunday evening, calling the accomplishment a “milestone.”
Speaking with representatives from law enforcement, Public Works and the Tupelo Fire Department, Mayor Jack Reed Jr., called the efforts of city and county employees a great example of teamwork and said they’re prepared for inclement weather over the next week.

Contact Galen Holley at 678-1510 or galen.holley@journalinc.com.