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Omaha crews preparing ahead of snow round 2

Posted at 5:43 PM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 18:43:40-05
Another round of frigid winter conditions will likely move into the area Friday into Saturday as Omaha crews are busy preparing. 
 
They are trying more aggressive measures this year to make sure streets stay as safe as possible with a mix of conditions in the forecast – from drizzle to snow in dropping temperatures. 
 
“We learned a lot of lessons last year,” said Austin Rowser, city street maintenance engineer. “All lot has been made over the changes we've made operationally. One is the brine. We're being much more aggressive with our brine operations with pretreatment then we have in the past.”
 
Crews waited until street surface temperatures rose above 15 degrees Thursday so they could lay down a brine mixture before it has time to freeze. 
 
" We're going to take the chance because we want to make sure people stay safe and that is our number one priority," Rowser said.
 
State snow crews have an even more aggressive brine mixture they're using on highway bridges overnight to brace for Saturday morning's conditions. 
 
"We use rock salt all the way and then we add brine to the rock salt as it's coming out of the truck, and then below 15 degrees we'll add a product called GeoMelt to the brine, which lowers the freezing temperature," said Jim Laughlin, highway maintenance superintendent. 
 
Ideally, drivers should stay 500 feet from plows as they remove snow and ice, Laughlin said. 
 
"Keep an eye on the weather,” Laughlin said. “Keep an eye on the roads. Absolutely slow down, it's imperative that you slow down." 
 
The most challenging part of keeping the streets clear will be if and when an expected wintry mix turns to snow late Friday night into early Saturday morning.
 
The low Saturday is 9 degrees below zero.