Kent citizens survive the ice storm

Dwayne Yates

The city of Kent got a break during what Midwesterners called “Snowpocalypse 2011.”

“As of [Wednesday] morning, it was 42 degrees out, which means we dodged a big bulk of the ice storm,” said Eugene Roberts, director of Public Services for the City of Kent. “Most of the precipitation was falling in the form of rain.”

Had the temperature been lower and had the rain been ice, the city may have had falling trees and downed power lines. Roberts said there was none of that.

“We dodged a bullet,” Roberts said.

Although the rain froze over, leaving a sheet of ice, Roberts’ six salt truck drivers in Kent were able to “maintain a good road surface to drive on.“

A parking ban is still in effect so that the trucks can clean the streets.

The 21 drivers salting roads for Portage County had a long Tuesday night, said Bryan Ford, general superintendent of the Portage County engineer’s office.

“We were here until almost one o’clock [in the morning],” Ford said. “We’ve been pretty busy. It was pretty dangerous last night. There was a lot of ice.”

Frank Hairston, director of marketing for PARTA, said people might be intimidated to travel in these kinds of conditions.

“We’ve had a lot of cancellations,” Hairston said. “County-wide, people who wanted a ride have decided not to take that ride. A lot of folks have decided they don’t want to get out in this weather.”

Since classes were canceled, PARTA moved to its standard snow day service, which consists of three buses running three routes: Allerton, Campus Loop and Stadium Loop.

Ford said he thinks people drove reasonably well, given the conditions.

“[Tuesday] night, I didn’t see as much traffic as I normally would,” Ford said. “I think they were mostly staying in. We were very fortunate we didn’t see too many accidents. I was surprised.”

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, only one accident had been reported in Kent and only three countywide, said dispatchers from the Kent police and Ohio State Highway Patrol. No serious injuries occurred.

Contact Dwayne Yates at [email protected].