As a result of a major snowstorm followed by nearly impassable roads, West Bend Republican Glenn Grothman is introducing legislation that would have the state Department of Transportation set the standards on salt usage, and snow removal from Madison’s main arterials.
“The state has to step in. The city of Madison has proven itself incapable of determining policies to keep its own roads clear.”
A blizzard dumped around a foot and a half of snow on the Madison area December 8th and 9th, and streets were in poor driving condition for the next several days. Grothman points to the nearly two-hour drive many motorists experienced for a mere six-mile commute on a major street (East Washington) one day after the storm.
“I realize that a lot of people in Madison don’t like cars. And this legislation only applies to major arterials.” If you live on the residential roads, Grothman says, “You can have the snow there all the way until April and I don’t care.”
Madison officials want to limit the use of salt in order to protect groundwater from the salt runoff. Also, the mayor argues that road salt would not have worked in the below-freezing temperatures and high winds from the severe storm earlier this month.
Grothman admits that while the referenced snowstorm was unique, the road conditions were not. He says it’s commonplace for Madison streets to be impassable when roads outside the city are relatively clear.
Under Grothman’s bill, all other cities, villages, and towns in Wisconsin would continue to make their own decisions. He says the state capitol is in Madison, as is the state’s largest university. They have to be accessible.
Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz had asked for a report following the storm including recommendations on how the city could do a better job next time.