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      Dry roads ahead

      S ometimes it can be a tough job for the Upper Peninsula Road Commissions during the winter months. They have to keep the highways and roads free from ice and snow.

      Nobody likes to drive on snowy roads and slippery highways, but they're a common sight in the U.P., which keeps county road commissions on their toes when plowing and sanding.

      So how have the road commissions been doing lately?

      "Well, I suppose they're doing what they can for the people they have. They always need more people working," said U.P. resident Michael Bergeron.

      Keeping the highways and roads in good condition is essential for safe U.P. driving, and due to the weather lately, the Alger County Road Commission has seen an increase in the need for sand and salt.

      Alger County Road Commission Engineer/Manager Bob Lindbeck said, "Well, things are going pretty well. We've had a little bit of colder temperatures than we had last year, so because of that, we're up in our sand usage. We're almost up 33 percent more sand than last year. Our salt this year versus last year is very close to the same."

      When the temperature drops below ten degrees, sand is used for better traction on packed snow and ice; salt is used when temperatures are above ten degrees which helps the ice and snow melt faster.

      The Alger County Road Commission takes care of 112 miles of state highway, cutting down snow banks and sanding or salting when needed.

      Each year, Alger County gets around 220 inches of snow.