Ice Concerns Continue in Maine | NECN

Ice Concerns Continue in Maine

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Cold air, heavy rain create additional problems for crews as series of storms persists (Published Friday, Feb. 21, 2014)

    (NECN: Amy Sinclair, Portland, Maine) - Heavy rain kept police and public works departments on the move in Maine Monday, racing against the clock to deal with all the water before the next deep freeze sets in.

    Normally. the rain and warmer temperatures  help clear the snow away, but with all the ice on the ground, it created a new set of problems for road crews.

    A combination of rain and snow melt cascaded down the city's hilly streets, but instead of draining into catch basins, the  water pooled onto roadways and intersections.

    "The catch basins as well as sluice ways, where the water normally drains off the roadway, they were plugged because of snow banks," said Jerry Dostie, Street Superintendent for the Augusta Public Works Department. "So not only were we dealing with icy road conditions, we were also dealing with floods."

    Crews spent the day carving  ice and snow pack away from blocked drains, but Lane Gould's job was even tougher.

    He had to search for blocked catch basins under a foot of muddy slush.

    "The issue right now is all the ice," said Gould. "When it backs up, it's hard to find, so we come out with chisels and shovels and try to get them opened up for the people."
     
    The rain on top of the ice made for especially treacherous driving conditions.

    "It's completely glare ice," said Dostie. "We had a lot of vehicles off the road. We're dealing with trying to apply some sand, but it rained so hard. the sand washed off, so it was quite a battle."

    Foot traffic was just as hazardous, and with colder weather on the way, Mainers were loading up on free sand and salt.

    "I'm gonna use it for my driveway, help my mother," said Joyce Grondin "I might have to put a little on the road if it ices up again tonight."

    The rain and wind  led to another round of power outages. 10,000 Central Maine Power customers were in the dark Monday morning.

    "When  we have a thaw, sometimes the ice will shed off the tree branches and limbs and the limbs will spring back into the lines again," said CMP spokesperson Gail Rice.

    Rice says the  rain did get the last of the ice off the trees so the colder weather should not impact customers.

    But for public works departments, it's a different story. Wet roads and below freezing temperatures are a perfect recipe for black ice. They'll be out sanding and salting Monday night.

    For pedestrians and motorists, its a good night to stay inside.