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Iowa State Daily

Iowa State and Ames prepare for upcoming winter weather

Jack McClellan
The east face of the Hixon-Lied Student Success Center pictured on a winter day.

Preparing for winter can be challenging anywhere in the world, but ensuring everything is fully prepared for the cold temperatures on a college campus has been a focus for The City of Ames and Iowa State.

The City of Ames and the Environmental Health and Safety team at Iowa State are getting ready for winter to ensure the citizens of Ames and students are safe. Various departments strive to ensure a smooth transition into winter.

The City of Ames is responsible for creating a transportation system that flows well in the winter. 

“We want to ensure the transportation network, which includes streets, sidewalks and share-use paths, is in as best condition possible before winter begins,” said Justin Clausen, the operations manager at the Public Works Department. “We try to maximize the time we have to continue to maintain roads before we need to fully switch over to winter maintenance activities.”

The City of Ames has materials and equipment that can be ready for a winter weather event on short notice.

“Right now, that preparation is really focused on getting all of the street patching and repair work we can complete before the weather is no longer conducive to placing concrete and asphalt,” Clausen said. “That will include installing the plows and the salt spreaders on the trucks so they are available when needed. We will begin to top off our brine storage tanks in November as well.” 

Ames has salt storage buildings with a typical year’s worth of salt. 

Conditions can be more hazardous in the wintertime when driving on icy roads or walking on snow-covered sidewalks. Preventative measures are the best defense against these winter events. 

“Some of the main steps the emergency management department is taking on campus are the Walk Safe Winter challenge, closings and cancellations, home and safety and winter driving,” said Anthony Romero, the emergency management director at Iowa State.

More information can be found about the upcoming winter plans on the Iowa State Environmental Health and Safety website. According to the Emergency Health and Safety website, “The department challenges the university community to walk safely this winter.” To help address the risks that come with winter, the department recommends that students be prepared to walk on snow and ice. 

Some helpful tips on the Emergency Health and Safety website are to “plan ahead, give yourself sufficient time and plan your route.” Traffic moves a lot slower in the winter and paths might not be clear for walking, so ensuring enough time is important.

They also say to “wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice and to walk on designated walkways as much as possible.” Plastic and leather soles do not provide good traction in winter conditions, so wear footwear made of rubber or neoprene composite to avoid slipping on snow or ice. 

The Emergency Health and Safety website also suggests students to pack their cars for winter travel. Their website has a pamphlet from the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management with tips on driving safely this winter and being ready before driving. Link to the pamphlet here.

CyRide is a very important part of transportation on campus and in the winter, it is crucial to have it running smoothly. The bus prevents students from standing outside in the freezing temperatures.

“I would encourage everyone to dress appropriately for the weather as they wait for busses,” Romero said. “Use the CyRide app to track busses so students limit time outside or stay in an open nearby building until the bus is close.”

Romero added, “If everyone has not done so already, I would highly encourage people to download the Iowa State Safe app.” The app can be downloaded here.

“We monitor how full the buses are and anticipate when it gets colder, more people will ride rather than walk,” said Christine Crippen, the CyRide assistant director. According to Crippen, students new to a winter of riding the CyRide should know, “the usual bus you may ride might have more passengers when it gets colder, so using MyState to look at the capacity might be helpful. Try to go at a different time to avoid the busy trips.”

The City of Ames would like to remind citizens of Ames to follow them on social media or check the city’s webpage during a snow event, especially if you live and park along a snow route. There is also a live public map showing plow progress here. The map will show you how long it has been since a plow has been down your street. 

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