St. Charles County deals with challenge of snowstorm preps


by staff

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 20 at 5:27 PM

The last round of snowfall caught St. Charles County by surprise, forcing snow trucks to play catch up and leaving hundreds of streets not plowed for hours. This time, crews are planning ahead.

The county is one of the fastest-growing areas and with that comes a big challenge for snow crews, which are charged with taking care of more than 700 miles of streets, subdivisions, highways and rural areas.

Everyone’s gearing up for the approaching storm, but the county highway department crews might be the ones working the hardest.

“Because of the weather warnings they were able to start putting salt down yesterday and they’re finishing that up today,” said Colene McEntee with St. Charles County.

County officials say 40 snow plows will start 12 hours shifts at the first sign of accumulation. While it may be unincorporated, much of the territory is far from rural.

The county has $350,000 budgeted for salt and calcium chloride this year, and $75,000 for overtime.

Officials say they can handle it.

“With all the growth that’s happened in the county within the last six to seven years, that growth, we have the recourses and the people, everything we need to cover it all,” said McEntee.

And residents, like bed and breakfast owner Venetia McEntire, hope they’re right.

“We have a lot of mid-week travelers and I’m just hoping they’ll be able to make it and I can still make some money tomorrow,” she said.