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Drivers work to navigate icy roads across W. Mich.

BARRY COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It's a slow drive across parts of West Michigan Friday night, as drivers try to negotiate very icy roads.

For many communities, this is the first big winter ice event of the year.

Newschannel 3 is keeping an eye on the road conditions Friday evening and keeping you updated.

In Barry County, County Road Commission Managing Director Brad Lamberg showed us how clearing ice can actually be harder than clearing snow.

18 big rigs in Barry County, filled with sand and salt, attacked the ice on main roads.

"The big challenge is the few of our trucks that have slid off trying to avoid drivers that have had accidents and have slipped," Lamberg said.

Freezing rain, along with wet roads from several days of winter melt are creating the mess.

"We would much rather have snow; even a foot of snow," Lamberg said. "The snow is easier to deal with."

In Barry County, it was the first real ice event of the season; crews say they didn't have much notice, and can't always treat ahead.

The road commission is asking drivers to keep a safe distance behind the trucks so they can do their thing.