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CR S-Curve Handles Winter Weather

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) The resurfacing project that the Iowa Department of Transportation isnt something they want to do every year; it cost about $450,000 last summer. But local emergency responders say the number and severity of the accidents have decreased so much in that area that its well worth the cost.

"Most firefighters that have been around for a while remember some pretty major accidents involving loss of life. We've seen a pretty drastic reduction in those numbers, said Cedar Rapids Fire Department Battalion Chief David Brown.

Those numbers tell the story. In the five years before the resurfacing project, the S-Curve averaged almost 11 crashes, resulting in about $200,000 work of property damage every year. In the year after the project was completed in June of 2012, the Iowa Department of Transportation says the number of crashes has been cut in half and theyve seen a fraction of the property damage, despite Mother Natures best efforts.

"We have ice, we have snow, and anytime you go over a bridge it doesn't thaw or doesn't stay as warm as ground does, said Cedar Rapids Police Department Sergeant Cristy Hamblin.

The new surface wears down slower than normal pavement, allowing tires to hold it better even in bad weather. As long as plows can clear off snow and ice, drivers should be ok.

"That's ideally what the high friction surface is designed to help us with. In wet condition, it really helps those tires grip that road way, said Iowa Department of Transportation Transportation Planner Cathy Cutler.

Around the same time the project was completed in Cedar Rapids, similar surfaces were put in at other parts of the state with similar results.

"Interstate 80, Interstate 35, mix-master at Des Moines, they were seeing the same kind of issues and they've seen the same kind of reduction in traffic accidents, said Cutler

The Police and Department of Transportation say in Cedar Rapids, traffic cameras also help out with some of those stats. They say since people know the cameras are at the beginning and end of the curve, they go slower, which only helps their tires grip the road better as well.
 
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