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DOT Crews Working to Clean Up ‘Ice Storm’ Aftermath

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GRIMES, Iowa -- It’s been a busy couple of days for Iowa Department of Transportation and maintenance crews aren’t out-of-the-woods yet.

During the latest round of storms, the Grimes DOT maintenance crew put in almost 360 man hours. While working around the clock, they laid almost 54,000 gallons of brine solution and 340 tons of salt.

And now it’s time to clean all that up.

Crews started as early as Tuesday morning washing the brine and salt off the trucks. Management with Grimes DOT garage estimates that each truck can cost as much as $230,000.

“Even one day with the brine and salt on the vehicle can do major damage,” said Jim Scott, supervisor with Grimes Maintenance. “We have to get these trucks cleaned right away if we want to expand the lifespan of the trucks.”

In addition to cleaning the vehicles, crews will work to clean up the roads.

During each storm dozens of signs and guardrails will need to be replaced. Many of replacements are the result of commuter accidents. Crews will canvas metro highways to assess the damage and replacing the equipment quickly is the focus.

"It's crucial,” said Scott. “Once we are aware that something is compromised, especially critical signs that are going to warn the traveling public they gotta stop or merge. We have to get out there and get it repaired. If a stop sign is damaged, we will take a temp out there and sandbag it down. That way you have something in place until we can get the repairs done."

The repairs can be very costly, ranging from $200 for a simple stop sign to upwards of $5,000 for longer guard rails.