A weekend forecast calling for several inches of snow have Chicago residents and city officials bracing for winter weather.
A Winter Storm Warning was issued for several counties in the Chicago area as crews begin to prepare for what will likely be a long, snowy weekend.
“When we have snow coming in—we drop what we are doing, change directions and focus on making sure equipment is ready to go,” said Ed Bailey, the city’s director of public works.
Crews began putting a salt and brine mixture, an anti-icing agent, on main streets Friday afternoon—hours ahead of the storm.
“It is pretty much laying down a barrier between the road and the snow,” said Dan Tabb of suburban Riverside’s public works department.
Dan Serwas is a plow driver for Plowz and Mowz, an on-demand app like Uber that puts a fleet of nearby snowplows at your fingertips.
“Download it, push a button, you’re done,” he says of the app. He added that it’s very popular with seniors who might have trouble shoveling their walkways and driveways.
Greg Lieberman, of Chicago, is a fan of the app and says he uses it.
“You can schedule it for the next day, or if you need it ASAP, you can get it within half an hour,” Lieberman told NBC 5.
The Chicago Transit Authority also placed snowplow blades on the front of all of its railcars in an effort to keep the tracks clear.
Metra says it is mobilizing all its crews and snow-fighting resources this weekend to ensure a reliable commute for customers throughout its six-county service area.
“Metra has made a variety of improvements that leave us well-prepared for winter’s onslaught, including more and better switch heaters and better jet blowers to clear snow,” said Metra executive director and CEO Don Orseno in a statement. “We’ve also taken several steps to improve communications with our customers so they can always be up to date with the latest information about their trains.”
Metra says it has 45 snow plows and blowers, 63,000 bags or more than 3.1 million pounds of salt to keep platforms and other areas clear. The rail agency also encourages commuters to stay up to date with their email alert system, the Ventra app, the agency’s rail-time tracker and Twitter page. Passenger services can also be reached at 312-322-6777.