PEORIA — Much of Peoria was returning to normal Tuesday, a day after drastically low temperatures, snow-packed roads and wind-strewn drifts caused many businesses and organizations to close.
Roads were still snow-packed, however, as people began driving to work once again.
"That's the one thing we try to avoid at all costs," Peoria's streets and sewers manager David Haste said of the city's snow-packed roads. "We have every street plowed, it's just that we still have snow packed. We just couldn't avoid it with the extreme cold and the drifting."
With the subzero temperatures, the salt the trucks dumped to break up the snow-packed roads became ineffective. That created messy and dangerous road conditions for drivers throughout Peoria.
Peoria police estimated about 53 calls about accidents or cars driving into ditches as of 9:45 p.m. Tuesday. Haste thinks that number could have been lower if people followed basic snow-driving rules.
"Just drive slow. We have snow-covered and snow-packed roads on all primary and neighborhood roads, so it's not perfect driving conditions," Haste said. "Motorists need to allow for more time when driving and need to allow more distance between other drivers. That's the best way to stay safe."
As for getting the roads into better driving conditions, there isn't much the city can do right now.
"The only thing that we can hope for is warm temperatures," Haste said. "The only bad thing about that is that we're expecting another snow maybe tomorrow afternoon."
Wednesday's forecast calls for cloudy skies and a bit of snow, with a high of 18 degrees and a low of 12.
Haste said Tuesday's focus was on maintenance of their trucks, getting them inspected and ready for the next snow. "The cold really put a toll on our trucks. The hydraulic systems were all messed up because of the fluids freezing up on us. A lot of other pieces of trucks really took a beating physically."
Zach Berg can be reached at email@example.com or 686-3257. Follow him on Twitter @ZacharyBerg. Robert Connelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3251. Follow him on Twitter @RConnelly_PJS.