‘Business as usual’ as roads clear for area motorists

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comJanuary 30, 2014 

Snow and ice cover the York County area. Rock Hill Police block off an ice covered Constitution Blvd. Wednesday morning.

ANDY BURRISS — aburriss@heraldonline.com Buy Photo

  • Blood needed

    The American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region has lost dozens of blood drives this week because of the winter storm. As conditions improve and it’s safe to travel, the Red Cross is urging eligible donors of all blood types to make an appointment to donate blood. Call 1-800-733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment.

Despite slick patches of black ice in the morning, many area roads on Thursday returned to normal as warmer temperatures and sunshine melted the snow and ice left from this week’s winter storm.

Schools in York, Chester and Lancaster counties were scheduled to reopen Friday morning, operating at their normal hours. On Thursday, schools in Fort Mill operated on a three-hour delay and schools in Clover operated on a two-hour delay. Schools in Rock Hill and York, as well as in Lancaster and Chester counties, were closed.

School officials have not announced snow makeup days because they are awaiting word as to whether Gov. Nikki Haley will excuse Wednesday and some Thursday closures. But, if those days have to be made up, most school officials indicated students would be required to report to school either on President’s Day in February or a scheduled teacher workday.

County government offices in all three counties reopened Thursday, though some offices mandated delays for their employees. Trash pickup for residents in Rock Hill’s city limits continued as normal, though city officials expected a delay due to weather.

By Thursday evening, trash pickup was back on schedule and the routes finished, said city spokeswoman Katie Quinn. Rock Hill residents whose leaf and brush pickup was missed this week because of the storm should call 803-325-2500 for service.

As for Friday’s commute, “very, very few” roads will present a risk of icy patches, said Cotton Howell, director of York County’s Office of Emergency Management.

He warned that there might still be icy patches in shady spots, but said many secondary roads have been cleared of treacherous ice.

Friday, Howell said, “should be business as usual.”

Howell praised York County residents, saying most followed officials’ suggestions to stay off the roads or use caution when driving.

“The late openings really made a difference,” Howell said, adding that travelers did not crowd the roads early Thursday when any remaining ice on roads would be present. He said the schools that either delayed opening or closed for the day made good calls, taking into consideration everything from the safety of buses on the roads to children who would have had to wait outside in freezing temperatures for their buses to arrive.

On Wednesday, police and state Highway Patrol troopers investigated numerous accidents, none of which were fatalities. Rock Hill Police did not investigate any weather-related incidents on Thursday, said Executive Officer Mark Bollinger.

Coroners in York, Chester and Lancaster counties reported no weather-related deaths.

Since Tuesday, emergency, school district, public works and law enforcement officials communicated regularly in a series of conference calls to relay information and share resources if possible, Howell said.

State Department of Transportation crews on Thursday were still surveying the streets and applying salt brine in particularly tricky spots.

Primary routes and main roads were all clear by late Thursday afternoon, said Perry Crocker, assistant DOT maintenance manager covering York, Chester and Lancaster counties. Officials hoped warmer temperatures would take care of the icy patches that they could not reach.

On-call and stand-by employees will be responsible for monitoring any other icy surfaces that appear on secondary roads, Crocker said.

Crews will be able to respond in case of emergencies, he said.

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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