Erika Buiter—Staff Writer
Dear Sioux Center Roads,
Every year, without fail, the snow comes. The first blizzard often catches people by surprise, lulled into complacency by a long fall—but we all know that it’s coming. In Iowa, it is inevitable that our streets will be blanketed by snow and ice and slush. And of course, we all know the easy way to get rid of the snow: salt.
Except you, dear Sioux Center Roads, seem to miss that message. Every year, when the first blizzard hits, your occupants scramble to clear the highways, the county roads, the gravel—yet your well-traveled residential streets remain unsalted. Snow is packed down on you, ice trapped below, and—without salt—vehicles slip and slide on you.
According to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Winter Cost Calculator, the last pass over the 4.2 mile section of US Highway 75 North, south of Sioux Center, was on December 4, 2018. Workers spent 0.4 hours clearing the road, costing $36 in total. No salt was used, and it wasn’t snowing anymore on the 4th —but out of caution, the state cleared them.
Yet, in the aftermath of the first blizzard of the year, dear Sioux Center Roads, you seemed untouched. As a commuter to Dordt, my daily route involves a 15-minute drive on gravel roads, county roads, highway 75, and finally, your residential roads. I don’t run into problems on the first three roads when it snows–it’s only the last one where I find myself fearing I’ll slide through a stop sign or hit a patch of unsalted ice.
What I’m trying to say, dear Sioux Center Roads, is this: I’m salty, you’re not, and that’s a problem. I’m not the only person using residential roads on my commute. School busses traverse them, carrying vulnerable children, as do hundreds of people heading to work in and around Sioux Center. For their safety, and for mine, I ask you: Please, salt your residential roads. We all know that it snows in the winter. Let’s be proactive and prepared for it.
A Salty Traveler