Our Opinion: If autumn comes, can winter be far behind?

News Tribune editorial

We’re not looking cause widespread panic but, like it or not, winter is approaching.

We know autumn barely has begun, but early signs of the season already are popping up in the news.

Among them:

• The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has started preparing for snow removal.

The agency is recruiting emergency snowplow operators, inspecting and repairing equipment, reviewing routes and renewing training.

Preparing for winter is no small chore.

The agency’s 2,400 maintenance employees — and added help when needed — are responsible for clearing and treating the state’s 33,891 miles of state-maintained roads.

“Our ultimate goal is to return our most traveled state routes to near-normal conditions as fast as we can,” said Beth Wright, MoDOT state maintenance engineer.

Our experience is road crews from the state, Cole County and Jefferson City are extremely diligent about making the roads passable and safe during winter storms.

• MoDOT also announced recently a contract has been awarded for an innovative project on a portion of U.S. 54 in Jefferson City.

An experimental pavement application on the eastbound and westbound lanes of the highway at Madison Street is designed to provide greater vehicle traction in ice, snow or rain.

The contractor is Truesdell Corporation Midwest of Jefferson City, which submitted the low bid of $84,333.

• And because winter also heralds Christmas, Missouri officials also have launched a search for the next Christmas tree to decorate the lawn at the Governor’s Mansion.

Nominees must be 40 feet tall, fully branched and donated. Details are available from the Department of Conservation.

Although Christmas remains months away, the deadline for submitting a tree candidate is Monday.

Although you may not be ready to shovel snow or decorate for Christmas, be assured state officials already are planning ahead.

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