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Lawton city workers prepare roads for winter weather

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LAWTON Okla_ City of Lawton road crews and emergency responders are not taking tomorrow's expected snowstorm lightly.

For the past couple of days, they've been preparing our roads to melt snowfall, before it turns to ice. Other first responders are going over their emergency plans for rescuing stranded drivers, just in case they're called upon.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol is taking the road conditions seriously, after a blizzard in 2009 left the streets crowded and the residents stranded. Officials said they hope their preparedness will be enough to help keep things under control if the weather gets too bad.

Cliff Haggenmiller of Lawton Public Works Department said his street crew is ready.

"We'll never take any chances. We always want to make sure we have plenty of resources available that we can throw at the storm as it comes through."

So far, he's had city street crews spray a pre-melt substance on bridges and overpasses throughout the city. As a backup plan, crews are prepared to spread 5,000 tons of salt-sand mixture over streets showing signs of icing. They will be concentrating on heavily traveled roads like Lee, Cache, Sheridan, and Gore.

"Those are our priorities," Haggenmiller said. "Make sure they are clear and our emergency crews are able to utilize them as they need to."

Comanche County Emergency Manager Clint Wagstaff said he's been monitoring the winter storm for a while. Even though our forecasters don't believe we will have a repeat of that devastating blizzard in 2009, Wagstaff's crew isn't taking any chances.

"The graders are all ready to go," Wagstaff said. "We've talked to our partner agency. If we need shelters, we have shelters set up."

Wagstaff said he doesn't want to have to use any of the shelters and hopes drivers planning to brave the bad weather plan for the unexpected.

"Put extra blankets, clothing in your vehicle in case you do become stranded, because help's not going to come quickly. If you got stuck in the snow or stranded in the snow, emergency vehicles are going to have the same amount of trouble getting to you as you did before you got stuck."

OHP Trooper John Hoover said drivers should avoid that situation and remember one simple rule: slow down.

"Take your time," Hoover said. "Don't get in a hurry. Wait until later in the day once the road crews work on roads a little bit and get them opened up and get a little bit safer."

Officials said if you don't have to venture out on the roads, please stay inside. That way you can avoid being involved in having to call on emergency crews for a pickup.



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