City of Tulsa crews get early start preparing for icy conditions

City of Tulsa crews get early start preparing for icy conditions (KTUL)

If you think driving when the roads get slick with ice is tough, try driving a Tulsa Transit bus.

Shamena Bland has been driving Tulsa roads as a bus driver for the past seven years. During that time, she's navigated her share of ice on the road.

Like the time she ran over a patch of black ice with a bus full of passengers, just feet away from a stop light.

"Like, oh my God, this bus is not going to stop," said Bland. Her experience kicked in, and she avoided an accident.

But years driving on the ice has taught her many a valuable lesson.

"Just slow down, take your time," said Bland.

Over in Tulsa Transit dispatch, Nakia Burris faces a whole new set of problems as the cold weather moves in.

"Everything comes through here," said Burris.

An hour or so before the first bus run kicks off Saturday morning, a dispatcher will drive the route to see how things look. If the roads are icy, her stress level goes up.

"It is stressful because, at any given moment, we can have anywhere from ten to thirty people on our buses that we're responsible for their lives," said Burris.

But the people here know what they're doing, and they've done this kind of thing enough to know how to keep people safe.

Even so, the City of Tulsa is getting an early start on the roads to keep them as safe as possible.

Street Maintenance Manager Tim McCorkell said the city now uses a rock salt solution to spray on bridges hills and overpasses. He says it sprays more evenly and allows them to use fewer crews to get the job done.

"And there's two grind trucks. We put two employees in each truck," said McCorkell.

Crews got started around 9 Friday night, spraying bridges, roads and overpasses.

"We've also got about 35 to 40 employees that will be on standby," said McCorkell.

ODOT officials said they also have crews ready to go, but won't spray the highways unless it starts raining during below freezing weather.

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