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Milwaukee County Department of Transportation prepares for snow

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- "These are all segments of the interstate, so if I click on it, it'll give me air temperature and down here it gives me the pavement temperature," said Greg Heisel, Highway Maintenance Manager, Milwaukee County.

Heisel and the rest of the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation were glued to monitors Tuesday. They watch radar, traffic cams, and road conditions to determine how when crews need to hit the road.

In Milwaukee County, it started raining before it started snowing, so the department wasn't able to pre-treat or de-ice the roads.

"There's the air temperature and the pavement temperature that will help determine over the course of the evening how many applications they actually have to make with the salt. Things are changing as the amounts change from 3 to 5 inches. If that increases, then plans will change accordingly," said Julie Esch, Interim Director Milwaukee County's Department of Transportation

The ground warmed up in the last couple weeks, so the main thing Heisel and his crew concentrated on included comparing air temperatures and pavement temperatures.

"We're having a constant watch and view of the radar, and then constant communication of our staff and supervisors," said Esch.

Once the pavement freezes, salt trucks were sent out on the roads. Instructions for plows depend on how much snow accumulates.

"Usually a light salting when it's still liquid. You don't need heavier salt unless it's really cold where it's going to keep refreezing right away," said Heisel.

Once Milwaukee County dispatched their crews, 46 trucks were sent out on county and state trunk highways.

The department's winter schedule ended last week, so the department will be paying workers overtime. Those that left their shifts at 3 p.m. were back at 10 p.m. to start plowing.

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